A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

Tag Archives: vegan

Sweet Petite Confections

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

Vegan Cornbread

I love fall food.  And one of my favorite quintessential fall foods is cornbread.  There’s something about the texture and the sweet corn taste that makes it irresistible.  While I often purchase pieces of cornbread at my local co-op, I had never actually tried to make it myself.  So I turned to one of my my BabyCakes Cookbook.  I often use the Babycakes cookbook for bread recipes, because they always yield super moist breads.  I also liked that their recipe didn’t call for refined sugar.  I know there’s a debate about whether sweeteners like agave are healthy, but I personally prefer putting agave in my mixing bowl rather than mounds of granulated white sugar!

 

[caption id="attachment_2921" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Cornbread Vegan Cornbread[/caption]

 

First, mix together the apple cider vinegar and the rice milk in a bowl, and set the mixture aside.

 

[caption id="attachment_2907" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Buttermilk Vegan Buttermilk[/caption]

 

Next, it’s time to place the dry ingredients (gluten-free flour, cornmeal, corn flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt) into a mixing bowl.

 

[caption id="attachment_2908" align="alignnone" width="640"]Dry Vegan Cornbread Ingredients Dry Vegan Cornbread Ingredients[/caption]

 

After you’ve mixed together the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients to the mixing bowl (coconut oil, agave, applesauce, and vanilla).

 

[caption id="attachment_2909" align="alignnone" width="640"]Wet Vegan Cornbread Ingredients Wet Vegan Cornbread Ingredients[/caption]

 

And mix together until combined.

 

[caption id="attachment_2911" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Cornbread Batter Vegan Cornbread Batter[/caption]

 

Then add the buttermilk mixture into the batter.  At this point I was wondering if I had done something wrong — the batter seemed to be too runny.  My concern, however, ended up being unwarranted!  The bread ended up cooking perfectly.

 

[caption id="attachment_2913" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Cornbread Batter with Buttermilk Mixed In Vegan Cornbread Batter with Buttermilk Mixed In[/caption]

 

Next, place the batter in a greased loaf pan.

 

[caption id="attachment_2914" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Cornbread Batter in Pan Vegan Cornbread Batter in Pan[/caption]

 

After it has baked, you will have a golden loaf of vegan cornbread!

 

[caption id="attachment_2915" align="alignnone" width="640"]Baked Vegan Cornbread Baked Vegan Cornbread[/caption]

 

I thought I would end up sharing this loaf with others.  However, it turned out that my husband and I polished it off in just a few days!

 

[caption id="attachment_2916" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Cornbread Pieces Vegan Cornbread Pieces[/caption]

 

 

4.5 from 2 reviews
Vegan Cornbread
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup corn flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil, plus more for greasing pan
  • ⅓ cup agave
  • ⅓ cup applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. Put the rice milk and the apple cider vinegar in a bowl and set aside -- this will develop into vegan "buttermilk."
  3. Put the gluten-free flour, cornmeal, corn flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt into a medium bowl and mix together.
  4. Add the coconut oil, agave, apple sauce, and vanilla extract to the bowl and combine.
  5. Add the "buttermilk" mixture to the batter and combine.
  6. Pour the batter into greased loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 32 minutes rotating the pan 180 degrees after 20 minutes.
  8. Allow loaf to cool for 20 minutes before serving, or allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.

 

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

I’m always on the lookout for a new chocolatey dessert.  And what’s a better dessert than mousse?!  This Vegan Chocolate Mousse caught my eye because it relies on avocado to create its smooth, creamy texture.  Oh, and it’s incredibly easy to make!  In fact, I like to make a double batch and store half in my freezer for when my sweet tooth craves its next chocolate fix!!

First, place the avocado in the food processor.

 

[caption id="attachment_2873" align="alignnone" width="640"]Avocado in Food Processor Avocado in Food Processor[/caption]

 

Then add in the maple syrup, coconut butter, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and balsamic vinegar.  I was surprised this recipe called for balsamic vinegar, but I think it helps it from  being overly sweet and makes the flavor more complex.  In other words, it gives the mousse a little extra something special!

 

[caption id="attachment_2874" align="alignnone" width="640"]Avocado with maple syrup, coconut butter, coconut butter, vanilla extract, and balsamic vinegar Avocado with maple syrup, coconut butter, coconut butter, vanilla extract, and balsamic vinegar[/caption]

 

Then combine the ingredients in the food processor.

 

[caption id="attachment_2875" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pureed Ingredients Pureed Ingredients[/caption]

 

And last but not least, add the cocoa powder to give the dessert its delicious chocolate taste!

 

[caption id="attachment_2876" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mixing in Cocoa Powder Mixing in Cocoa Powder[/caption]

 

The end result is a heavenly looking chocolate dessert.

 

[caption id="attachment_2877" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Chocolate Mousse Vegan Chocolate Mousse[/caption]

 

Simply spoon in out into a container and enjoy!!

 

[caption id="attachment_2878" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Chocolate Mousse Vegan Chocolate Mousse[/caption]

 

 

 

Vegan Chocolate Mousse
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups avocados
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1.25 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Mix avocados, maple syrup, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and balsamic vinegar in food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Slowly add coca powder and process until completely combined.
  3. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator for up to one week. It can also be stored in the freezer for longer.

 

NaPizza: Vegan Friendly

[caption id="attachment_2839" align="alignnone" width="640"]NaPizza Sign NaPizza Sign[/caption]

 

LITTLE ITALY, 4S COMMONS, and OPENING SOON IN HILLCREST.

I am always on the look out for places that serve vegan pizza.  After all, is there anything better than biting into warm dough that is covered with tomato sauce and delicious toppings?  Although I always wish there were more vegan pizza options, NaPizza reminds me that it’s not the quantity but quality of those options that matters.  And NaPizza does an excellent job of focusing on quality by offering pizzas, soups, and salads that are made with fresh and local ingredients.

 

Soups:

 

NaPizza offers a vegan soup every day — on my last visit, they had Potato Onion.  The soup exceeded my expectations (after all we’ve all had bland potato based soups before!).  The onion flavor popped on my tongue!  And with a cup of soup (pictured below) costing $2, it’s an economical addition to any meal!

 

[caption id="attachment_2840" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Potato and Onion Soup Vegan Potato and Onion Soup[/caption]

 

Salads:

 

The salads at NaPizza are special.  I thoroughly enjoyed the “Superfood Me Salad” made with an organic spring mix, kale, quinoa, walnuts, avocado, blue lake beans, sprouts, and apples.  It traditionally comes with a basil lemon dressing but upon recommendation from the NaPizza server, I added the tahini dressing instead!

 

[caption id="attachment_2841" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Superfood Me Salad Vegan Superfood Me Salad[/caption]

 

Pizza:

 

NaPizza, of course, also offers delicious pizza.  NaPizza believes that a piece of pizza is only as good as its dough — they source a low-sugar, high protein flour from a small, family-owned mill in Rome.  NaPizza then mixes the flour with yeast and allows it to rest and rise for 72- hours.  This process creates a dough that is light and digestible.

Wondering about the specifics of NaPizza’s vegan offerings?  The restaurant makes a “Veggy Me” pizza — a pizza that is topped with a combination of locally grown veggies (the day I went it was eggplant and peppers!).  This pizza is made without cheese BUT if you prefer, you can ask for Daiya cheese to be added.  Personally, I like adding the Daiya cheese but whatever your choice, you’re sure to end up with a delicious piece of pizza!

 

[caption id="attachment_2842" align="alignnone" width="640"]"Veggie Me" Vegan Pizza “Veggie Me” Vegan Pizza[/caption]

 

NaPizza also offers an array of meal specials.  They can be a great way to try more items on the menu!

 

[caption id="attachment_2845" align="alignnone" width="640"]NaPizza Specials NaPizza Specials[/caption]

 

NaPizza has their mouth-watering pizzas on display when you enter the restaurant.  Customers order at the register and receive a number to take to their table.  A NaPizza server will bring the food to the table when it’s ready.  And because NaPizza cares about the environment, you will be eating in a green certified building under energy efficient LED lighting!

 

[caption id="attachment_2843" align="alignnone" width="640"]Interior NaPizza Interior NaPizza[/caption]

 

NaPizza also offers outdoor patio seating — it’s a great place to enjoy a warm San Diego afternoon!

I hope you make it out to NaPizza to enjoy one of their vegan options soon!

 

[caption id="attachment_2844" align="alignnone" width="640"]NaPizza Patio NaPizza Patio[/caption]

 

Little Italy:

1702 India Street

San Diego, CA 92101

619.696.0802

 

4S Commons:

10550 Craftsman Way, Suite #186

San Diego, CA 92127

858.312.1036

Uncle Steve’s Italian Sauces

We all know that the freshest, best ingredients are the foundation for high quality products. Uncle Steve’s Italian sauces are proof of this. For someone who grew up on Prego and Ragu (their ingredient lists include things like citric acid, tomato paste, sugar, and soybean oils), really good tomato sauce is a special treat! And Uncle Steve’s tomato sauce definitely falls into the special treat category.

Uncle Steve makes three varieties of sauces: (1) marinara, (2) tomato basil, and (3) arrabbiata.  They are all USDA certified organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and don’t contain any added sugar!

 

Marinara Sauce:

 

Uncle Steve’s Marinara Sauce is made from Italian whole peeled tomatoes, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, sea salt, basil, basil, and black pepper.  Quite simply, this sauce puts other marinara sauces to shame.  Its fresh, flavorful taste evokes images of tomatoes ripening on the vine.

 

[caption id="attachment_2801" align="alignnone" width="360"]Uncle Steve's Marinara Sauce Uncle Steve’s Marinara Sauce[/caption]

 

Tomato Basil Sauce:

 

Italian whole peeled tomatoes, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil, sea salt, and black pepper make up the Tomato Basil Sauce.  It tastes just as fresh as the marinara sauce but with a stronger basil flavor.  This might be my favorite (I say might, because it’s so difficult to choose!).

 

IMG_6359

 

Arrabiata Sauce:

 

Last but not least, Uncle Steve makes an Arrabiata sauce made Italian whole peeled tomatoes, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, sea salt, basil, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.  As the ingredient list indicates, the Arrabiata sauce contains peppers that help give it a bit of a spicy kick!  A great variation on a classic.

 

[caption id="attachment_2800" align="alignnone" width="414"]Uncle Steve's Arrabiata Sauce Uncle Steve’s Arrabiata Sauce[/caption]

 

More about Uncle Steve’s:

 

So who is the Steve behind Uncle Steve’s Italian sauces? It turns out Uncle Steve is Steve Schirripa, the actor, who played Bobby Baccalieri on The Sopranos and appeared on the ABC Family show, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. He is also a New York Times best seller author (check out A Goomba’s Guide to Life, Schirripa’s book, documenting some of his experiences growing up in Brooklyn)!

 

[caption id="attachment_2794" align="alignnone" width="640"]Uncle Steve's Sauce Uncle Steve’s Sauce[/caption]

 

After sampling Uncle Steve’s Italian sauces, I felt inspired to make something Italian. And so I found myself making vegan pizza on Friday night. Delicious.  There were no leftovers.  The fresh, light Tomato Basil sauce made a great base for my pizza!!  Next, I’m picturing some pasta covered in one of Uncle Steve’s fabulous sauces 🙂

 

[caption id="attachment_2795" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Pizza with Tomato Basil Sauce Vegan Pizza with Tomato Basil Sauce[/caption]

 

For more information on Uncle Steve and his sauces, check out his website!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

 

OB Noodle House and Bar 1502: Vegan Friendly

[caption id="attachment_2781" align="alignnone" width="640"]OB Noodle House Restaurant Sign OB Noodle House Restaurant Sign[/caption]

 

OCEAN BEACH.  OB Noodle House is something of an institution in San Diego.  Every time I’ve driven by or eaten there, the restaurant is busy.  Why is it such a hit with locals and tourists alike?  The Asian fusion restaurant serves up delicious appetizers, noodle dishes, and pho (many of them vegan!) at reasonable prices.  So it’s no wonder that the Food Network featured the restaurant on its popular “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” show.  (To read more about their appearance on the show, click here.)

 

After the show aired in 2013, OB Noodle House’s popularity rose to meteoric proportions.  Quite simply OB Noodle House could not keep up with demand.  The only solution?  To open up a second OB Noodle House location!  And so Bar 1502 was born.  Bar 1502 opened in 2014 with the same menu as OB Noodle House and is also located in Ocean Beach.  So now there are two locations to enjoy the same great food!!

 

One of my favorite vegan options on the menu is the Vegetarian Fresh Spring Rolls.  Tofu, lettuce, rice noodle vermicelli, and basil and bean sprouts are wrapped in rice paper and served with peanut plum hoisin sauce.  The rolls are light and fresh — I especially love the pop of flavor the basil provides.  Dunking the roll in the savory peanut sauce rounds out the experience.

 

[caption id="attachment_2743" align="alignnone" width="640"]Fresh Spring Rolls with Tofu Fresh Spring Rolls with Tofu[/caption]

 

Another great vegan appetizer is the Tofu Lettuce Cups.  Chopped tofu is mixed with green onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and garlic and served with lettuce pieces so you can make your own wraps.  I was hesitant the first time I ordered this dish, because tofu dishes are so often bland.  I should not have been worried — the herbs and spices ensure that this dish packs a flavorful punch.  Soon after it arrived, I was happily munching away!

 

[caption id="attachment_2774" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tofu Lettuce Wraps Tofu Lettuce Wraps[/caption]

 

This review could not be complete without mentioning the vegan Vegetarian Pho.  The rice noodles, onions, cilantro, lightly fried tofu, and fresh vegetables are served in a vegetable broth base.  Fresh basil leaves, bean sprouts, jalapenos, and a lime are come on the side.  The vegetable broth has a subtle but flavorful composition, and I love that customers are able to personalize the Pho by adding their own herbs and spices!  And of course, half the fun is slurping up your noodles!

 

[caption id="attachment_2744" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegetarian Pho Vegetarian Pho[/caption]

 

And of course there are the noodle dishes.  The Tofu and Veggie Hong Kong Chow Fun is made up of soft wide rice noodles and topped with tofu, veggies, and a savory, brown sauce.  Just remember to order this dish without the egg to make it vegan!

 

[caption id="attachment_2775" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tofu and Veggie Hong Kong Chow Fun Tofu and Veggie Hong Kong Chow Fun[/caption]

 

If you feel like noodles but are looking for something lighter, the Tofu and Veggie Dry Chow Fun is a great option.  The soft wide rice noodles are served with bean sprouts, green onions, and chinese broccoli.  Again, remember to order this dish without egg to make it vegan!

 

[caption id="attachment_2745" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tofu and Veggies Dry Chow Fun Tofu and Veggies Dry Chow Fun[/caption]

 

The interior of both OB Noodle House locations are casual and cozy.  (The picture below is from Bar 1502.)  It’s a great place to relax and catch up with friends.

 

[caption id="attachment_2777" align="alignnone" width="640"]Interior Bar 1502 Interior Bar 1502[/caption]

 

If you want to eat outside, OB Noodle House and Bar 1502 have you covered.  Both restaurants have extensive outdoor seating.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy your meal at either OB Noodle house location!

 

[caption id="attachment_2778" align="alignnone" width="640"]Outdoor Patio Bar 1502 Outdoor Patio Bar 1502[/caption]

 

OB Noodle House:

2218 Cable Street

San Diego, CA 92107

619.450.6868

 

Bar 1502:

4993 Niagara Avenue

San Diego, CA 92107

619.255.9858

Wet Stone Wine Bar and Cafe

[caption id="attachment_2721" align="alignnone" width="640"]Wet Stone Sign Wet Stone Sign[/caption]

 

BANKER’S HILL.  I recently made my first trip to Wet Stone Wine Bar and Cafe.  And now I can’t wait to go back again.  It was quiet, peaceful, and the food was simple but delicious.  Wet Stone has an unassuming exterior and is tucked into a quiet part of Banker’s Hill.  It’s the type of place you might walk by without even noticing it.  But that would be a mistake.

We arrived for lunch hungry and decided to start with the Garbanzo and Avocado Sandwich.  A puree of chickpeas, avocado, and basil make up the base of this sandwich.  You then pick your bread: multi-grain, pita, or ciabatta (we picked pita).  The sandwich usually comes with piquillo aioli which is NOT vegan.  However, our very accommodating server brought us a side of home made chimichurri sauce instead.

Sandwiches also come with a mixed green or the grain of the day.  After learning the grain of the day was farro, it wasn’t even a choice!  The grain salad was mixed with greens and topped with a light dressing.  It was light and flavorful and the perfect accompaniment to the sandwich.

 

[caption id="attachment_2722" align="alignnone" width="640"]Garbanzo and Avocado Sandwich Garbanzo and Avocado Sandwich[/caption]

 

I was also excited to try the Hummus plate.  And let me reassure you that this is not your ordinary Hummus plate — the hummus is accompanied by pita, medjool dates, and pomegranate seeds.  The pita was soft and the hummus fresh and smooth.  Add a piece of date and some pomegranate seeds to any bite, and you have a perfect taste combination!

 

[caption id="attachment_2723" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Hummus Plate Vegan Hummus Plate[/caption]

 

We were eating at Wet Stone on a hot day, and I decided to order an iced tea.  My expectation was for a drink that would cool me down.  What arrived was so much more.  The tea was obviously fresh brewed and was infused with a hint of lemon and mint.

 

[caption id="attachment_2724" align="alignnone" width="640"]Iced Tea Iced Tea[/caption]

 

The interior of Wet Stone is peaceful, calm, and inviting.  The perfect place for a quick rejuvenating meal on your own or a a place to settle in with friends to catch up.

 

[caption id="attachment_2725" align="alignnone" width="640"]Interior Wet Stone Interior Wet Stone[/caption]

 

If you’re ready to soak up some of the San Diego sun, there are also a row of benches at an outdoor bar.  I hope you enjoy your trip to Wet Stone as much as I did 🙂

 

[caption id="attachment_2726" align="alignnone" width="640"]Wet Stone Outdoor Seating Wet Stone Outdoor Seating[/caption]

 

1927 4th Avenue

San Diego, CA 92101

619.255.2856

sadfsadf

 

 

Vegan Raw Balls

One of my all time favorite cookbooks is Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet.  It is a wonderful vegan resource full of appetizer, breakfast, soup, salad, and dessert recipes.  The recipes are truly unique and always delicious.  My mouth always begins watering when I get to the dessert section of the cookbook.  And the Raw Balls with their chocolately nut base are no exception — they are a rich and decadent treat!

[caption id="attachment_2708" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pair of Vegan Raw Balls Pair of Vegan Raw Balls[/caption]

 

First, gather up the ingredients for the Raw Balls.  I always enjoy seeing the natural and fresh ingredients laid out on my kitchen counter.  No refined sugar here!

 

[caption id="attachment_2699" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Raw Balls Ingredients Vegan Raw Balls Ingredients[/caption]

 

The first step is to grind the walnuts in the food processor.

 

[caption id="attachment_2700" align="alignnone" width="640"]Almonds in Food Processor Almonds in Food Processor[/caption]

 

Then add the dates…

 

[caption id="attachment_2701" align="alignnone" width="640"]Adding Dates to Food Processor Adding Dates to Food Processor[/caption]

 

And mix together!

 

[caption id="attachment_2702" align="alignnone" width="640"]Dates and Almonds Mixed Together Dates and Almonds Mixed Together[/caption]

 

Then add the carob powder and the almond butter to the mixture.

 

[caption id="attachment_2703" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mixing in Almond Butter and Cacao Powder Mixing in Almond Butter and Cacao Powder[/caption]

 

Finally, add in the almonds.

 

[caption id="attachment_2704" align="alignnone" width="640"]Adding in Almonds Adding in Almonds[/caption]

 

Make sure not to over process the almonds!  These balls taste great when there are small almond chunks mixed in for added texture.

 

[caption id="attachment_2705" align="alignnone" width="640"]Raw Ball Dough with Almond Chunks Raw Ball Dough with Almond Chunks[/caption]

 

Next, it’s time to roll the mixture into small balls.  It helps if you wet your hands before trying to do this as the mixture is sticky.  Spread out the coconut flakes on a flat surface and lightly roll the balls until covered in a snowy white layer.

 

[caption id="attachment_2706" align="alignnone" width="640"]Coating Raw Balls in Coconut Flakes Coating Raw Balls in Coconut Flakes[/caption]

 

Store the Raw Balls in the freezer, and enjoy!

 

[caption id="attachment_2707" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pile of Vegan Raw Balls Pile of Vegan Raw Balls[/caption]

 

Raw Balls
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • ½ cup carob powder
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ sea salt
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Process walnuts in food processor until coarsely ground.
  2. Add dates and process until combined.
  3. Add carob powder, syrup, almond butter, vanilla extract, and salt and process until the mixture is thick and smooth.
  4. Add almonds and pulse a few times -- there should still be pieces of almonds mixed in
  5. Form mixture into golf sized balls with hands and roll in shredded coconut.
  6. Place in sealed container and freeze until hardened.

 

Barnana: NEW Coconut and Peanut Butter Flavors!

If you regularly read The Fussy Fork, you know how much I love Barnana’s line of chewy banana bites.  (See my post on their original and chocolate flavors here.)  The exciting news is that they have now come out with two additional flavors: Coconut and Peanut Butter!!  Both flavors are tasty and are of course organic, vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO.

 

[caption id="attachment_2685" align="alignnone" width="640"]Barnana Packages Barnana Packages[/caption]

 

The coconut bites are seriously good.  The dried banana and coconut have been formed into cubes to make a sweet snack.

 

[caption id="attachment_2687" align="alignnone" width="573"]Coconut Barnanas Coconut Barnanas[/caption]

 

And you will feel vindicated when you look at the ingredient list which simply reads: “organic banana, organic coconut.”  It’s great to have a healthy snack to be able to take on the go!

 

[caption id="attachment_2688" align="alignnone" width="640"]Coconut Barnana Pieces Coconut Barnana Pieces[/caption]

 

The peanut butter Barnana bites might be my new favorite.  Anyone who has ever enjoyed a peanut butter and banana sandwich knows how well these flavors go together.

 

[caption id="attachment_2689" align="alignnone" width="509"]Peanut Butter Barnanas Peanut Butter Barnanas[/caption]

 

These banana bites which are covered in a thick, rich layer of peanut butter are sweeter than their coconut counterparts.  They almost taste like a dessert and are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth!

 

[caption id="attachment_2690" align="alignnone" width="640"]Peanut Butter Barnana Pieces Peanut Butter Barnana Pieces[/caption]

 

I hope you enjoy the new Barnana flavors as much as I have.  Who knows what they’ll think of next?!  My vote? A chocolate peanut butter Barnana flavor! YUM!!

 

To learn more about Barnana and their products, check out their website.

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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Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberries and rhubarb might be the most perfect food combination — the sweetness of the strawberries paired with the tart rhubarb creates sublime results.  This crisp is based off of a recipe from Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.  That’s right, the author that used to appear on your school reading list (think the Poisonwood Bible and Animal Dreams), has written her first non-fiction narrative describing her adventures in mindful consumption.  She and her family vowed for a year to buy food raised in their neighborhood, grow the food themselves, or to live without for a year.  Although the book’s focus is not on the vegan diet, it is an interesting read that describes one family’s attempts to to bridge the gap between food production and consumption.

Now for the delicious crisp recipe!!

 

[caption id="attachment_2561" align="alignnone" width="640"]Piece of Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler on Plate Piece of Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler on Plate[/caption]

 

First, gather your ingredients.  One of the best things about this recipe is its simplicity.  Chances are, you have many of the necessary items already sitting in your kitchen!

 

[caption id="attachment_2549" align="alignnone" width="640"]Ingredients for Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Ingredients for Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp[/caption]

 

Chop the strawberries and…

 

[caption id="attachment_2550" align="alignnone" width="640"]Freshly Cut Strawberries Freshly Cut Strawberries[/caption]

 

the rhubarb into small pieces.

 

[caption id="attachment_2551" align="alignnone" width="640"]Freshly Cut Rhubarb Freshly Cut Rhubarb[/caption]

 

Place the fruit in a bowl, add the agave, and combine.

 

[caption id="attachment_2552" align="alignnone" width="640"]Chopped Strawberries and Rhubarb Mixed with Agave Chopped Strawberries and Rhubarb Mixed with Agave[/caption]

 

Now it’s time for the topping (ie everyone’s favorite part!).  Add the oats, brown sugar, spices, and non-dairy butter to a bowl…

 

[caption id="attachment_2553" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Topping Ingredients Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Topping Ingredients[/caption]

 

And combine!

 

[caption id="attachment_2554" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Topping Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Topping[/caption]

 

Add the fruit layer to the pan.

 

[caption id="attachment_2556" align="alignnone" width="640"]Strawberry Rhubarb Layer Strawberry Rhubarb Layer[/caption]

 

Then sprinkle on the crisp’s topping.  After a short time in the oven, your crisp is ready to eat!

 

[caption id="attachment_2563" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp in Pan Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp in Pan[/caption]

 

Since finding this recipe, I have made it twice.  The first time, I put the crisp in an 8 X 8 baking dish, and achieved excellent results.  On my second go around, I divided the fruit and the topping mixtures into 4 ramekins and was equally as thrilled.  I have a feeling this dessert will be making an appearance at my next dinner party!

 

[caption id="attachment_2559" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler in Ramekin Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler in Ramekin[/caption]

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 3 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • ¼ – ½ cup agave nectar, depending on the sweetness of the berries
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ⅓ cup non-dairy butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Slice strawberries and chop rhubarb.
  3. Place fruit into bowl, add agave, and stir well.
  4. In a separate bowl add flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and non-dairy butter and combine.
  5. Transfer fruit mixture to an 8 X 8 (un-greased) pan
  6. Sprinkle topping over fruit mixture
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown
  8. Enjoy immediately or allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

 

 

Mama’s Bakery and Lebanese Deli: Vegan Friendly

[caption id="attachment_2414" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mama's Bakery Sign Mama’s Bakery Sign[/caption]

 

NORTH PARK.  A friend of mine recently told me about Mama’s Bakery.  I had never been, but when I heard they specialized in Lebanese food, I knew I would be visiting soon.  Mama’s Bakery is quite simply mouth-watering.  Home made flat bread, hummus, baba ganouj, and falafels feature prominently on the menu, making this a spot that should not be missed!  So thank you Andrew for the great suggestion!

 

I arrived hungry.  I decided to order the Fool Mudamas over Hummus.  The Fool Mudamas, a fava and garbanzo bean stew, arrived layered on top of a deep layer of hummus.  Another bonus? The sides of flatbread (I saw them making it in the kitchen!) and pickled vegetables.

 

Mama’s Bakery flatbread is special.  It was soft and still steaming when it arrived.  I began enthusiastically dunking pieces of it into the Fool Mudamas and hummus.  So delicious.  There’s something special about home made hummus.  It has so much more flavor than anything that can be bought in the store.

 

[caption id="attachment_2415" align="alignnone" width="640"]Fool Mudamas Over Hummus Fool Mudamas Over Hummus[/caption]

 

While eating the Fool Mudamas, I intermittently took a few moments to have some pickled vegetables.   I particularly liked adding the olives to my flatbread, hummus, and Fool Mudamas!

 

[caption id="attachment_2416" align="alignnone" width="640"]PIckled Vegetables Pickled Vegetables[/caption]

 

Next up, was the Fried Eggplant Wrap.  A home made wrap encases fried eggplant, baba ghanouj, tomatoes, lettuce, parsley, and pickles.  If only all places made home wraps.   The best part about this wrap? Double eggplant!  Fried eggplant plus baba ghanouj!  Add in some parsley and pickles and you have a filling and tasty lunch or dinner!

 

[caption id="attachment_2417" align="alignnone" width="640"]Fried Eggplant Wrap Fried Eggplant Wrap[/caption]

 

Mama’s Bakery has a cozy indoor seating area.  The walls are painted green and red with plenty of wall hangings and pictures for customers to examine.  I especially liked that the roof allows some of the natural sunlight to shine through.

 

[caption id="attachment_2418" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mama's Bakery Interior Mama’s Bakery Interior[/caption]

 

Mama’s Bakery also understands that San Diegans like to get their time outside.  Patio tables with umbrellas are set up for those to enjoy their food.

 

 

[caption id="attachment_2419" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mama's Bakery Patio Mama’s Bakery Patio [/caption]

 

4237 Alabama Street

San Diego, CA 92104

619.688.0717

 

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

I always tell people that I wouldn’t be vegan if I felt like I was missing out.  And for me, if there wasn’t a delectable vegan macaroni and cheese recipe, I would be missing out!  So thank you to Ann Gentry, author of The Real Food Daily Cookbook: Really Fresh, Really Good, Really Vegetarian, for providing such a great mac and cheese option!  This vegan macaroni and cheese is creamy, rich, and a true comfort food.

Also, for those of you who don’t know, Real Food Daily is a vegan restaurant serving up truly tasty vegan juices, smoothies, burgers, burritos, salads, desserts, and more in the Los Angeles area.  It’s one of my “go to” places when I visit Los Angeles.  Really.  I often find myself planning my activities in Los Angeles so that I will end up near one of their locations around lunch or dinner!  Real Food Daily has 4 locations: Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Pasadena, and the LAX airport! For more information, check out their website!

 

[caption id="attachment_2340" align="alignnone" width="640"]Macaroni and Cheese in Bowl Macaroni and Cheese in Bowl[/caption]

 

First, gather your creamy cashew cheese ingredients.  Most of the ingredients are pretty typical with the possible exception of the Agar agar.  Agar agar is a sea vegetable that is packed with fiber that is dairy-free and gluten-free.  Agar agar can be used as a gelling agent which makes it the perfect vegan substitute for gelatin in cooking or baking!  For more information on agar agar, click here!  I purchased my Agar agar from my local co-op.  It can be found at health food stores or of course online: Eden Foods Agar Agar Sea Vegetable Flakes — 1 oz.

 

[caption id="attachment_2321" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cheese Ingredients Cheese Ingredients[/caption]

 

First, add the cashews to your food processor….

 

[caption id="attachment_2322" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cashews in Food Processor Cashews in Food Processor[/caption]

 

And pulse until they are ground.  Make sure you don’t let the food processor go for too long or you will end up with cashew butter!

 

[caption id="attachment_2323" align="alignnone" width="640"]Ground Up Cashews Ground Up Cashews[/caption]

 

It’s then time to add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, and garlic powder.

 

[caption id="attachment_2324" align="alignnone" width="640"]Adding in Nutritional Yeast and Spices Adding in Nutritional Yeast and Spices[/caption]

 

And pulse again until combined.  You can then set the dry mixture aside.

 

[caption id="attachment_2325" align="alignnone" width="640"]Dry Cheese Ingredients Mixed Together Dry Cheese Ingredients Mixed Together[/caption]

 

Mix the non-dairy milk (I used almond), canola oil, and agar agar in a saucepan.  Stir the mixture until the agar agar dissolves.

 

[caption id="attachment_2326" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mixing Agar, Canola Oil, and Non-Dairy Milk Mixing Agar, Canola Oil, and Non-Dairy Milk[/caption]

 

Then slowly add the saucepan mixture to the dry ingredients in the food processor.

 

[caption id="attachment_2327" align="alignnone" width="640"]Add Wet Ingredients to Dry Ingredients Add Wet Ingredients to Dry Ingredients[/caption]

 

Finally, add the miso, and you will have some delicious tasting cashew cheese!

 

[caption id="attachment_2330" align="alignnone" width="640"]Adding in the Miso Adding in the Miso[/caption]

 

I put my cheese mixture in a bowl and set it aside.

 

[caption id="attachment_2331" align="alignnone" width="640"]Final Cheese Sauce in Bowl Final Cheese Sauce in Bowl[/caption]

 

Then boil the pasta (I used brown rice pasta) until it is tender but not overly soft — remember that you will be baking the mac and cheese in the oven later.

 

[caption id="attachment_2332" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cooking Noodles Cooking Noodles[/caption]

 

Once the pasta is done you can let it sit in the strainer.

 

[caption id="attachment_2333" align="alignnone" width="640"]Noodles in Strainer Noodles in Strainer[/caption]

 

Then, mix the cheese and pasta together.  I have to admit, at this point, I took a couple of bites of macaroni and cheese.  But be patient, because the next steps take this dish to another level!

 

[caption id="attachment_2334" align="alignnone" width="640"]Noodles with Cheese SauceNoodles with Cheese Sauce Noodles with Cheese Sauce[/caption]

 

Because herbed bread crumbs make everything better 🙂

 

[caption id="attachment_2335" align="alignnone" width="640"]Bread Crumb Ingredients Bread Crumb Ingredients[/caption]

 

First, place the bread, parsley, olive oil, garlic, and pepper in the food processor and mix until combined.

 

[caption id="attachment_2336" align="alignnone" width="640"]Bread Crumb Ingredients in Food Processor Bread Crumb Ingredients in Food Processor[/caption]

 

Lay the macaroni and cheese in the bottom of the casserole pan, and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top.

 

[caption id="attachment_2337" align="alignnone" width="640"]Macaroni and Cheese with Bread Crumb Layer Macaroni and Cheese with Bread Crumb Layer[/caption]

 

Bake the macaroni and cheese, and you’re done!  Time to dig in.  I warn you, it’s difficult to stop eating this pasta once you get started!

 

[caption id="attachment_2339" align="alignnone" width="640"]Macaroni and Cheese with Dish Macaroni and Cheese with Dish[/caption]

 

Macaroni and Cheese
 
Ingredients
  • CASHEW CHEESE SAUCE:
  • ¾ cups raw cashews
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1.5 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 ounce agar agar flakes
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ⅛ cup yellow miso
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • PASTA AND BREAD CRUMB TOPPING:
  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. CASHEW CHEESE SAUCE:
  2. Pulse the cashews in a food processor -- do NOT allow the cashews to become a paste
  3. Add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, and garlic powder
  4. Combine non-dairy milk, agar agar flakes, and canola oil in saucepan and simmer over high heat
  5. Lower to medium heat and stir mixture until agar agar is dissolved
  6. Gradually add the saucepan mixture to the ingredients in the food processor
  7. Add in miso and lemon juice and blend in food processor
  8. PASTA AND BREADCRUMB TOPPING:
  9. Preheat oven to 325
  10. Bring a large part of water with salt to a boil
  11. Add the pasta and cook for approximately 8 minutes or until tender. The pasta should still be firm.
  12. Strain the pasta and mix with Cashew Cheese Sauce
  13. Place pasta mixture in 8 x 8 casserole dish
  14. Place bread in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped
  15. Add the parsley, olive oil, garlic, and pepper to the food processor and pulse util combined. Do NOT overmix.
  16. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top of macaroni and cheese and cover with tinfoil.
  17. Bake for 20 minutes. Then uncover and allow to bake again until topping is golden brown (about 15 minutes).

 

 

Savory Vegan Taco Pie

I love pies of all sorts.  I love pies so much that I bought Hannah Kaminsky’s Easy As Vegan Pie: One-of-a-Kind Sweet and Savory Slices.  An entire cookbook devoted to savory and sweet pies!  My mouth began watering just looking at the pictures.  I decided to try the Taco Pie.

 

[caption id="attachment_2161" align="alignnone" width="640"]Taco Pie and Piece Taco Pie and Piece[/caption]

 

Vegan Taco Pie: Cornmeal Crust

 

There’s no pie without a pie crust.  This recipe calls for a simple 5 ingredient cornmeal crust.

 

[caption id="attachment_2147" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Cornmeal Crust Ingredients Vegan Cornmeal Crust Ingredients[/caption]

 

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor.

 

[caption id="attachment_2148" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Cornmeal Crust Ingredients in Food Processor Vegan Cornmeal Crust Ingredients in Food Processor[/caption]

 

Pulse until combined.  Do not over mix.  If you do not have a food processor, use a pastry cutter or forks to break up the vegan butter.

 

[caption id="attachment_2162" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cornmeal Crust Mixture Cornmeal Crust Mixture[/caption]

 

Next, roll out cornmeal dough with rolling pin.  Try to maintain the round shape of the dough as much as possible.

 

[caption id="attachment_2149" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Cornmeal Crust Rolled Out Vegan Cornmeal Crust Rolled Out[/caption]

 

If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use your fingers to press the crust into the pie pan.  I recommend tasting this crust.  It’s not too sweet and has a light corn taste.  Delicious!

 

[caption id="attachment_2150" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Cornmeal Crust in Pie Pan Vegan Cornmeal Crust in Pie Pan[/caption]

 

Vegan Taco Pie: Tempeh Filling

 

Then it’s time to gather the filling ingredients.

 

[caption id="attachment_2151" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Taco Pie Filling Ingredients Vegan Taco Pie Filling Ingredients[/caption]

 

First, cut up the tempeh into small pieces.

 

[caption id="attachment_2152" align="alignnone" width="640"]Chopping Tempeh Chopping Tempeh[/caption]

 

Throw the pieces into a saucepan and cover with water and boil.

 

[caption id="attachment_2153" align="alignnone" width="640"]Boiling Tempeh Boiling Tempeh[/caption]

 

It’s then time to saute the onions, garlic, and mushrooms.

 

[caption id="attachment_2163" align="alignnone" width="640"]Garlic, onions, and mushrooms Garlic, onions, and mushrooms[/caption]

 

It’s then time to combine everything together!  A pot full of taco filling 🙂

 

[caption id="attachment_2154" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mix of Vegan Taco Filling Mix of Vegan Taco Filling[/caption]

 

Place the taco filling in the cornmeal crust and spread until smooth.

 

[caption id="attachment_2155" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Taco Pie Vegan Taco Pie[/caption]

 

Vegan Taco Pie: Sour Cream Filling

 

While the pie is in the oven, it’s time to prepare the Sour Cream Filling.

 

[caption id="attachment_2156" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Sour Cream and Lime Juice Vegan Sour Cream and Lime Juice[/caption]

 

Take the pie out of the oven and top the pie with a layer of sour cream.  After the pie makes another short visit to the oven, the pie is ready!

 

[caption id="attachment_2157" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Sour Cream Layer on Taco Pie Vegan Sour Cream Layer on Taco Pie[/caption]

 

Then it’s time to garnish the pie! Shredded lettuce, diced bell peppers, guacamole, or vegan cheese would all be appropriate toppings!  Have fun!

 

[caption id="attachment_2159" align="alignnone" width="640"]Slice of Vegan Taco Pie Slice of Vegan Taco Pie[/caption]

 

This pie was everything I hoped it would be.  Substantial, flavorful, and fun to make! Plus, I’m pretty sure this pie will provide leftovers for the better part of a week!

 

Vegan Taco Pie
 
Ingredients
  • CORNMEAL CRUST:
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cup earth balance
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • TEMPEH TACO FILLING:
  • 16 ounces tempeh
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 1.25 cups salsa
  • 1 can 14 ounce black beans or 1.75 cups prepared black beans
  • 2 tablespoons liquid aminos
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1.25 teaspoons paprika
  • ¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup flour
  • SOUR CREAM TOPPING
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ADDITIONAL TOPPINGS:
  • chopped romaine lettuce
  • bell pepper, diced
  • avocado, diced
  • vegan cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. CORNMEAL CRUST:
  3. Place flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and water in food processor.
  4. Mix until combined.
  5. If the dough holds together when you pinch it, you're done! if the dough crumbles when you pinch it, add additional water, a teaspoon at a time.
  6. Place cornmeal crust in the refrigerator.
  7. TEMPEH TACO FILLING:
  8. Chop the tempeh into small squares and place in saucepan.
  9. Cover tempeh with water and bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  10. Heat olive oil in saucepan and saute onion for 5 minutes.
  11. Add the garlic and mushrooms to the saucepan and continue to cook.
  12. When the veggies begin to stick to the pan, add the vegetable broth and salsa.
  13. Drain the tempeh and combine with the veggies, vegetable broth, and salsa.
  14. Then add the black beans, liquid aminos, and all of the spices.
  15. Allow mixture to simmer for 15 minutes and add salt to taste.
  16. Let mixture cool for 15 minutes.
  17. Mix flour in slowly to avoid clumping.
  18. Take cornmeal crust from the refrigerator and place taco filling in the crust.
  19. Smooth filling with a spoon.
  20. Bake for 20 minutes.
  21. Take the taco pie out of the oven and top with sour cream filling.
  22. Place pie back in oven for another 10 minutes.
  23. SOUR CREAM FILLING:
  24. Mix the vegan sour cream and lime juice together.
  25. ADDITIONAL TOPPINGS:
  26. Allow pie to cool at least 15 minutes before adding any toppings.

 

Kafe Sobaka Restoran Pomegranate

GOLDEN HILL.  Looking to shake up your San Diego restaurant rotation?  Or perhaps the Sochi Olympics have made you more curious about Russian cuisine.  Either way, it’s time to try Kafe Sobaka.  With a menu offering a “ménage a trios of Georgian, Russian, and Californian Cuisine,” Kafe Sobaka offers a truly unique dining experience.

 

[caption id="attachment_1975" align="alignnone" width="640"]Kafe Sobaka Sign Kafe Sobaka Sign[/caption]

 

On my first visit, I started with the Salad Sampler Platter.  The sampler features 8 items, 4 from the appetizer menu and 4 that the chef chooses.   The 4 items from the appetizer menu are: (1) Pkhali – veggies and herbs marinated with lemon and garlic, (2) Lobio – pate style red beans with herbs, walnuts, tomatoes, and onions, (3) Salat Vesna – a salad made from cabbage, berries, and herbs, and (4) Ajap Sandali – a vegetarian ragout made from eggplant, green peppers, tomatoes, and herbs.

The sampler platter offered an excellent array of dishes.  I especially liked the Lobio.  Who knew beans could taste so good?

 

[caption id="attachment_1976" align="alignnone" width="640"]Zakuski Sampler Platter Zakuski Sampler Platter[/caption]

 

I’m not sure where my fascination with Borscht comes from, although I suspect it stems from watching too many spy movies.  I just knew I had to taste it!  Kafe Sobaka’s vegan version (the traditional soup has meat in it) is made from beets, potato, carrot, onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, and herbs.  I thought it would be sweet, but had a pleasant, tangy flavor.

 

[caption id="attachment_1978" align="alignnone" width="640"]Borscht Soup Borscht Soup[/caption]

 

Next up was Welcome to the Gulag, a mix of tempeh, cabbage, and onion served with a side of potatoes.  The onions and herbs give this dish an incredible amount of flavor.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the perfectly cooked and crisp potatoes.  I cleaned my plate.  Quickly.

 

[caption id="attachment_1977" align="alignnone" width="640"]Welcome to the Gulag Welcome to the Gulag[/caption]

 

On my most recent trip to Kafe Sobaka, I ordered the Vegetarians Answer to Shashlik.  It was a simple dish – roasted vegetables with a side of Georgian walnut sauce – but one that was executed perfectly.  The veggies were fresh and the walnut sauce was creamy.  It was a meal that left me feeling satisfied but not heavy.

 

[caption id="attachment_1979" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegetarian's Answer to Shashlik Vegetarian’s Answer to Shashlik[/caption]

 

The interior of Kafe Sobaka is full of sturdy wooden tables with Russian artwork adorning the walls.  It’s the perfect place for a date or to catch up with friends.

 

[caption id="attachment_1980" align="alignnone" width="640"]Interior Kafe Sobaka Interior Kafe Sobaka[/caption]

 

There is also a small outdoor patio, if you want to take advantage of a sunny San Diego day!

 

[caption id="attachment_1981" align="alignnone" width="640"]Outdoor Patio Kafe Sobaka Outdoor Patio Kafe Sobaka[/caption]

 

I love how easy Kafe Sobaka makes it to eat vegan.  Their menu clearly indicates which dishes are vegan and the servers are patient while answering questions.  Kafe Sobaka is not without a sense of humor.  Instead of small, medium, or large, be prepared to order Socialist, Imperialist, or Anarchist portions!

 

2469 Broadway

San Diego, CA 92102

619.297.4007

Macadamia Nut Porridge

Is your breakfast routine getting boring?  Then this is the recipe for you!  Macadamia nuts, apple, coconut milk, and spices combine to create a tasty, protein packed breakfast that is bursting with flavor!

 

[caption id="attachment_2006" align="alignnone" width="640"]Strawberry Macadamia Nut Porridge Strawberry Macadamia Nut Porridge[/caption]

 

The brains behind this brilliant recipe?  Terces Engelhart, co-owner of the vegan restaurant, Café Gratitude (with California locations in Venice, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and Berkeley).  If you are not lucky enough to live by a Café Gratitude location (I’m still waiting for one to come to San Diego!), then the next best thing is to make a recipe from the restaurant’s cookbook!

 

 

First, assemble your ingredients.  Why is there a coconut in my picture?  I decided to make fresh coconut milk for my porridge.   Store bought coconut milk, however, also works well!

 

[caption id="attachment_1999" align="alignnone" width="640"]Macadamia Nut Breakfast Porridge Macadamia Nut Breakfast Porridge[/caption]

 

Cut up the apple…

 

[caption id="attachment_2000" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cut Up Apple Cut Up Apple[/caption]

 

And put all of the ingredients in the blender.

 

[caption id="attachment_2001" align="alignnone" width="640"]Macadamia Nut Porridge Ingredients in Blender Macadamia Nut Porridge Ingredients in Blender[/caption]

 

Then blend completely!

 

[caption id="attachment_2002" align="alignnone" width="640"]Blended Macadamia Nut Ingredients Blended Macadamia Nut Ingredients[/caption]

 

The strawberries are an optional but a delicious addition!  They give the dish an extra zip of flavor and a beautiful pink color.

 

[caption id="attachment_2003" align="alignnone" width="640"]Strawberries Strawberries[/caption]

 

Simply, add the strawberries and blend until combined.

 

[caption id="attachment_2004" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mixing in Strawberries to Macadamia Nut Porridge Mixing in Strawberries to Macadamia Nut Porridge[/caption]

 

The porridge is then ready!  Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator.  The consistency will thicken in the refrigerator, but I actually like it better thicker.  This is a great breakfast to make the night before an early morning.  It stores well and is sure to give you energy for your day!

 

[caption id="attachment_2005" align="alignnone" width="640"]Strawberry Macadamia Nut Porridge Strawberry Macadamia Nut Porridge[/caption]

 

 

Macadamia Nut Breakfast Bowl
 
Ingredients
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts (or pecans)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 5-7 strawberries (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pour home made or purchased coconut milk in blender
  2. Add macadamia nuts, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, and strawberries to blender
  3. Blend until completely combined

 

Phil’s Power Pancake

I’m always on the lookout for new vegan products.  As I was purchasing a smoothie from my favorite juice shop, I saw Phil’s Power Pancake out on display.  Skeptical, I picked it up and began examining the ingredients.  I was pleasantly surprised… I recognized all of the ingredients! Instead of artificial flavors and preservatives, Phil’s Power Pancake included things like rye flour, oats, and fresh apples!  And besides being vegan, Phil’s Pancake was wheat-free as well! I decided I had to try one.

 

[caption id="attachment_2032" align="alignnone" width="640"]Power Pancake in Wrapper Power Pancake in Wrapper[/caption]

 

I opened up the package curious about how it would taste.  Would it be possible to pack in 9 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber into a 260 calorie pancake and still make it taste good?

 

[caption id="attachment_2033" align="alignnone" width="640"]Power Pancake on Table Power Pancake on Table[/caption]

 

It turns out the answer is yes.  The pancake had a mild, sweet taste with cranberry flavor bursts and a cakey consistency.  The wrapper recommends toasting the pancake.   I think next time I purchase one, I’ll be sure to enjoy it at home so I can try it warm!

 

[caption id="attachment_2034" align="alignnone" width="640"]Power Pancake with Bite Taken Out Power Pancake with Bite Taken Out[/caption]

 

I came home ready to research Phil’s Power Pancake (I love finding out about new vegan friendly companies!).  It turns out that Phil’s Power Pancake is old school.  Phil Perota began selling his pancakes at the Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach in 1980!  I’m happy to have this company on my radar and look forward to trying one of the other flavors (the pancake also comes in chocolate chip, raspberry, and mango) soon!

 

For more information on Phil’s Power Pancake check out:

http://thepowerpancake.wix.com/the-power-pancake

 

Eclipse Chocolate New Years Resolution Dinner

[caption id="attachment_1984" align="alignnone" width="640"]Eclipse Chocolate Sign Eclipse Chocolate Sign[/caption]

 

SOUTH PARK.  “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” – Linda Grayson

So Eclipse Chocolate is clearly a true friend.   Eclipse Chocolate understands that chocolate should not be confined to desserts, demonstrated by a menu that weaves dark chocolate into appetizers, entrees, and drinks.  But wait, it gets better.

Each month, Eclipse Chocolate offers “Supper Club” – a themed multi-course tasting dinner.  The themes change, but each Supper Club dish features chocolate, vanilla bean, or caramel.  Yes, even the savory dishes.  (Especially the savory dishes!)  And Eclipse offers wine or beer pairings for each dish.

Supper Club usually lands on a Friday or Saturday night.  Multiple seating times are available.  Reservations are crucial.  To reserve space, call (619) 578-2984.  A full calendar of upcoming Supper Club Events can be found at:

http://eclipsechocolate.com/events/

I attended the New Years Resolution Supper Club.  I owe a special thanks to Katherine and Sean for finding out about it and passing along the news.  So let’s get started . . .

 

Drink:

 

I am an eavesdropper.  I eavesdrop.  It’s what I do.  Within minutes of arriving, I heard one of the servers talking about a Chocolate Chai tea.  Suspecting that chocolate tea in a restaurant specializing in chocolate was going to be pretty special, I ordered one.  I recommend it.  The tea has a rich, chocolate taste with a great blend of spices.

 

[caption id="attachment_1985" align="alignnone" width="640"]Chocolate Tea Chocolate Tea[/caption]

 

Starter:

 

First, we shared the Avocado Street Tacos.  The mini tacos arrived (obviously way cuter than regular tacos), and we picked up the hickory salted corn tortillas that encased panko crusted fried avocados, vanilla bean pickled cabbage, and black bean pico de gallo.  The tart pickled cabbage and spicy pico de gallo added powerful flavor to the smooth and creamy avocado interior.  In short, the tacos were a perfect starter.

 

[caption id="attachment_1986" align="alignnone" width="640"]Avocado Street Tacos Avocado Street Tacos[/caption]

 

Eclipse Chocolate First Course:

 

Next was the black bean soup, made from roasted veggies, caramelized onion, and black beans.  Served with fried tortilla chips, pickled red onion, vanilla bean salt, and chive, this soup could stand on its own as a meal.

 

[caption id="attachment_1987" align="alignnone" width="640"]Black Bean Soup Black Bean Soup[/caption]

 

Eclipse Chocolate Second Course:

 

Eclipse Chocolate offered two options for the second course: (1) Spicy Farro Poblano; and (2) the Crispy Quinoa Fritter.

 

Spicy Farro Poblano:

 

Farro, roasted veggies, and kale spilled out of a spicy, herb roasted poblano pepper.  Eclipse drizzled brute cocoa mole on top.  The mole was amazing.   In my opinion, chocolate should be drizzled liberally on every dish!  Did I use my fork to scrape every last bit of it off my plate? Absolutely.  So how did they make the dish even better?  By adding a side of fried plantains, mixed with jalapeno peach salsa.  A truly special entrée.

 

[caption id="attachment_1988" align="alignnone" width="640"]Spicy Farro Poblano Spicy Farro Poblano[/caption]

 

Crispy Quinoa Fritter:

 

Then there was the equally delicious Crispy Quinoa Fritter.  The quinoa, bell pepper, and mushroom fritter stood on a polenta cake, served with hickory salted avocado.  The fritter was crispy on the outside, and hot and soft on the inside.  The same cocoa mole sauce drizzled the fritter, complete with the side of fried plantains and jalapeno peach salsa.

 

[caption id="attachment_1989" align="alignnone" width="640"]Crispy Quinoa Fritter Crispy Quinoa Fritter[/caption]

 

Eclipse Chocolate Third Course:

 

Finally, it was time for dessert.  If you’re judging me for grand indulgence, that’s completely reasonable.  I was full, I admit it.  But I made room for the Almond Toffee Sundae.  At the base, there was a grilled olive oil almond cake.  Sweet and mild. Then marcona almond and cocoa nib praline created a salty ring around the almond cake.  Finally, raw almond and cashew milk gelato – with coffee kahlua caramel – crowned the cake.  Wow.  I wish I could spoon feed this dish to every person who thinks that vegan desserts are somehow lacking.

 

[caption id="attachment_1990" align="alignnone" width="640"]Almond Toffee Sundae Almond Toffee Sundae[/caption]

 

Conclusions:

 

I will be looking at Eclipse Chocolate’s upcoming Supper Club events with eager anticipation.  I can only hope that they will have another vegan friendly dinner in the near future.  I’ve also explored Eclipse’s regular menu and found that they regularly offer a variety of vegan-friendly options.  You can be sure I will be visiting again soon!  Expect a blog post about them in the future!

 

 

[caption id="attachment_1992" align="alignnone" width="640"]Interior Eclipse Chocolate Interior Eclipse Chocolate[/caption]

 

2145 Fern Street

San Diego, CA 92104

619.578.2984

 

 

 

Rejuvenative Foods Raw Sauerkraut

Have you ever tried quality sauerkraut?  Not the kind you find as a condiment on bratwurst in a football stadium.  I mean the real home made type made from fermented cabbage that adds a deliciously pungent flavor to foods?  If the answer is no, you have been missing out on a great tasting food that has some amazing health benefits.

 

[caption id="attachment_1967" align="alignnone" width="631"]Rejuvenative Foods Raw Sauerkraut Rejuvenative Foods Raw Sauerkraut[/caption]

 

History of Sauerkraut

 

Sauerkraut is German for “sour cabbage.”  It’s believed that laborers working on the Great Wall of China over 2,000 years a go first to made sauerkraut by fermenting shredded cabbage in rice wine.  A thousand years later, Ghengis Khan introduced sauerkraut to Europe as part of his empire’s expansion.  Later, seamen (including Captain James Cook) relied on sauerkraut to prevent scurvy in sailors during long sea voyages.  For more information on the history of sauerkraut click on:

http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/vegetables/a/sauerkraut.htm

 

How Does Cabbage Become Sauerkraut?

 

Sauerkraut is made by finely shredding cabbage, layering the cabbage with salt, and leaving the mixture to ferment.  The naturally occurring air-borne bacteria on the cabbage start the fermentation process.  Different bacteria thrive and multiply as sugars are broken down, and the environment becomes increasingly acidic.  There are many more details on fermentation that can be found at:

https://www.foodpreservationmethods.com/sauerkraut-kimchi-pickles-relishes/sauerkraut/fermentation

 

[caption id="attachment_1968" align="alignnone" width="640"]Open Rejuvenative Foods Raw Sauerkraut Open Rejuvenative Foods Raw Sauerkraut[/caption]

 

Why Should I Eat Sauerkraut?

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines probiotics as “living microorganisms that provide a health benefit to the host when ingested in adequate amounts.”  More simply, probiotics are beneficial bacteria.  In fact, they are an important part of a healthy digestive tract.  Probiotics have a wide range of health benefits including: managing weight, lowering “bad” cholesterol, decreasing allergies, managing Type 2 diabetes, combating anxiety and depression, and more!  To learn more about probiotics, check out the following links:

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics

http://www.humanevents.com/2013/04/25/what-are-probiotics-bacteria-with-benefits/

 

[caption id="attachment_1971" align="alignnone" width="640"]Rejuvenative Foods Raw Sauerkraut on Spoon Rejuvenative Foods Raw Sauerkraut on Spoon[/caption]

 

Rejuvenative Raw Sauerkraut

 

Rejuvenative Sauerkraut is made from cultured cabbage and is a raw, gluten, free, vegan, and non-GMO food.  Rejuvenative Sauerkraut is never heated or pasteurized.  (Most commercially available sauerkraut is heated which kills the naturally occurring enzymes and beneficial bacteria that are vital for the digestive process.) Most importantly, it is tastey!  If I knew sauerkraut could taste this good, I would have been adding it to all of my favorite dishes.  Check out the Rejuvenative website for more information on their sauerkraut and other great products!

http://www.rejuvenative.com/

Conscious Box: Vegan Subscription Box

I don’t live under a rock.  I had heard of subscription boxes.  But I thought they were only for makeup.  Once I found out there were boxes devoted to delivering vegan treats to your doorstep each month, I was ready to try one!  And so the research began (after all I wanted to try a quality box!).  Conscious Box appeared on list after list of “the best” vegan subscription boxes, including VegNews’ “5 Amazing Vegan Subscription Boxes.”

 

What Is the Conscious Box?

 

Conscious Box is a subscription service that delivers 10-20 ethical, natural, non-GMO products to your door each month.  They offer 3 boxes: (1) classic, (2) vegan, or (3) gluten-free (I am of course partial to the vegan option!).  Conscious Box pledges not to include products that use animal products or any animal derived ingredients in its vegan box.  They also participate in the 1% for the Planet, meaning that they donate at least 1% of their annual net revenues to environmental organizations worldwide.  More questions about Conscious Box?  Check out their helpful FAQ Page!

I ordered my vegan Conscious Box, and a few days before Christmas, it arrived!  Merry Christmas to me!

 

[caption id="attachment_1892" align="alignnone" width="640"]Contents of Conscious Box Contents of Conscious Box[/caption]

 

December Box Items:

 

(1) REBOOTizer:

REBOOTizer 3 Pouch Box

This product is designed to decrease oxidative stress – a process that occurs when your metabolism doesn’t fully neutralize free radicals.  The packet is divided into two compartments (1) the bottom is filled with purified, reverse osmosis water and (2) the top is filled with antioxidant-rich root and fruit extracts (including Dandelion Root, Licorice Root, Angelica Root, Artichoke Flower, Lemon Balm Leaf, Acerola, and Lemon).  The directions instruct you to squeeze the packet until the seal between the two compartments breaks and to then shake the packet until the water has dissolved the extracts.

REBOOTizer gets credit for truly creative packaging that makes it possible to enjoy the product on the go.  REBOOTizer tasted sweet with a slight caramel after taste.  It’s difficult to say whether I had fewer free radicals after drinking it.  REBOOTizer suggests drinking a pouch for 6 consecutive days.  Perhaps, documenting a 6 day experience with REBOOTizer will be the subject of a future blog post!

 

[caption id="attachment_1893" align="alignnone" width="631"]Reboot Reboot[/caption]

 

(2) Coastal Scents African Black Soap

Coastal Scents African Black Soap, 16 Ounce

Women in Ghana have been hand pressing this soap made from coconut oil, raw shea butter, cocoa pod ash, water, and palm kernel oil for centuries.  Finally, a product that has an ingredient list that I understand! The soap is said to diminish acne, clear oily skin and blemishes, and relieve eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis.  The soap has a mild smell and an attractive brown color.  I love that this product relies on natural ingredients to naturally nourish skin!

 

[caption id="attachment_1894" align="alignnone" width="513"]African Black Soap African Black Soap[/caption]

(3) The Good Bean

The Good Bean Sea Salt flavor, 2.5-Ounce (Pack of 6)

I loved these roasted chickpeas.  They were crunchy and slightly salted.  With 90 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein per serving, it’s a snack you can feel good about eating!

 

[caption id="attachment_1898" align="alignnone" width="628"]The Good Bean The Good Bean[/caption]

 

(4) Mighty Leaf Tea

Mighty Leaf Tea Mighty Leaf Variety, Whole Leaf Pouch, 1.36-Ounces, 15-Count

I drink more cups of tea per day than I can count.  And Mighty Leaf Tea is one of my favorite brands.  I don’t know how they do it, but this tea is organic, flavorful, and fresh.    If you drink tea and haven’t tried Mighty Leaf yet, you are missing out!

 

[caption id="attachment_1899" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mighty Leaf Tea Mighty Leaf Tea[/caption]

 

(5) Earth’s Enrichment’s Lavender of the Valley

This lavender scented, coconut oil based bar is certified USDA organic.  The soap is vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty free.  The aloe vera moisturizes the skin while the ground lavender buds ensure that it smells absolutely amazing!  Lavender is calming and helps to relieve stress.  And couldn’t we all use a little less stress in our lives?

 

[caption id="attachment_1900" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lavender Soap Lavender Soap[/caption]

 

(6) Numi Savory Carrot Curry Green Tea

Numi Organic Savory Tea Carrot Curry, 12 Count (1.92 Oz).

I think savory tea is a brilliant idea.  Tea has already conquered the dessert landscape (I do love a good chocolate chai or vanilla bean tea!).  Savory is the next frontier.  I loved the curry and carrot flavors mixed with the green tea.  Absolutely delicious.  I will definitely be ordering some soon!

 

[caption id="attachment_1901" align="alignnone" width="640"]Numi Carrot Curry Savory Tea Numi Carrot Curry Savory Tea[/caption]

 

(7) Ivre de Fleurs Blood Orange and Juniper Lip Balm

I love lip balm (See my Booda Butter post for more on my lip balm obsession!).  And this one smells amazing.  Pleasantly citrusy with a hint of juniper.  And most importantly, the balm kept my lips hydrated.  I’m thrilled to have a new lip balm to add to my rotation.

 

[caption id="attachment_1902" align="alignnone" width="640"]Blood Orange Lip Balm Blood Orange Lip Balm[/caption]

 

(8) Two Degrees Chocolate Peanut Bar

Two Degrees Chocolate Peanut Nutrition Bars (tray of 9 bars)

I thoroughly enjoyed this bar.  Peanut and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combinations.  Plus, Two Degrees Bars are vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO.  Even though the bar tastes like a dessert, I felt good knowing that I was also eating a nutritious bar full of quinoa, chia, and millet.  Two Degrees also is on a mission to feed hungry children.  For every bar you buy, Two Degrees feeds a child a meal.  What a great cause.

 

[caption id="attachment_1903" align="alignnone" width="640"]Two Degrees Chocolate Peanut Bar Two Degrees Chocolate Peanut Bar[/caption]

 

(9) Logic Product Group Wash & Shampoo and Liquid Dish Soap

TotLogic 2 in 1 Body Wash & Shampoo – Sulfate free, Phthalate, Paraben, DEA, Formaldehyde, & PEG Free

Natural HomeLogic Liquid Dish Soap – Citrus Grove

I’m always looking for new, natural body and home care products.  After all, I don’t want to absorb chemicals through my skin or eat them off my plate.  So thank you Logic Product Group for making these natural products.  I liked the shampoo (I don’t care if it’s made for kids, shampoo is shampoo!).  It  left my hair feeling clean and soft and had a nice, light scent.  The liquid dish soap had a mild citrus smell and left the dishes clean without a film.  I’m happy to have this company on my radar!

 

[caption id="attachment_1904" align="alignnone" width="640"]Totlogic Shampoo and Dish Soap Totlogic Shampoo and Dish Soap[/caption]

 

(10) Bum Boosa Baby Wipes:

Bum Boosa Bamboo Baby Wipes – 80ct

Ok, so I don’t have a baby.  But I’m glad Conscious Box included this product.  As much as I worry about being exposed to toxins and chemicals, I worry even more about babies being exposed to them.  So thank you Conscious Box for showing everyone that there are natural options for baby care!

 

[caption id="attachment_1905" align="alignnone" width="640"]BumBoosa Baby Wipes BumBoosa Baby Wipes[/caption]

 

Conclusions:

I loved my Conscious Box.  It was convenient (dropped off on my doorstep!) and provided a variety of vegan products to sample.  I’m excited about some of the new products and companies I discovered.  The added bonus?  Coupons for many of the products are included in the box!  I hope you enjoy Conscious Box as much as I have!

For more information on how to sign up for a Conscious Box subscription check out:

http://www.consciousbox.com/filter

 

Very Berry Vegan Muffins

Babycakes Cookbook:

 

I love new cookbooks.  I read them cover to cover.  I flip through the pages scanning ingredient lists and baking instructions until my eyes start to cross.  There is always something new to learn.  My newest reading material?  The Babycakes cookbook.  Didn’t I just write a post about Babycakes’ vegan, gluten-free brownies and say that I didn’t own the cookbook but wished I did?  Yes!  But then I saw it when I was out shopping.  Happy holidays to me!

In 2004, Erin McKenna was diagnosed with wheat and dairy allergies.  She looked at the available desserts and decided it was a “wasteland of uninspired products.”  So, she created her own recipes and opened Babycakes in New York City (now also with locations in Los Angeles and Orlando).  Happily, for those of us who don’t live in city that has a Babycakes, she has shared her recipes in a cookbook!

 

 

Things I love about the Babycakes Cookbook:

 

(1) There is a photo of each recipe.

(2) McKenna includes a “Tools, Ingredients, and Tips” section to orient those new to baking or vegan ingredients.

(3) McKenna introduces each recipe with a short vignette.

(4)  Celebrities (think Natalie Portman and Pamela Anderson!) have shared which Babycakes baked good they can’t live without!

 

[caption id="attachment_1881" align="alignnone" width="640"]Close Up of Vegan Muffin Close Up of Vegan Muffin[/caption]

 

Raspberry Muffins:

 

I decided to make raspberry muffins (you can substitute other berries if you prefer!).  I love experimenting in the kitchen, and I was excited to use some new ingredients.  Like spelt flour.

 

Spelt Flour:

 

Spelt is one of the oldest cultivated grains — it can be traced back more than 6,000 years to Mesopotamia. Spelt is a distant cousin of wheat.  Although spelt (like wheat) contains gluten, it is easier to digest (and in fact some individuals with gluten sensitivities are able to digest spelt without issue).  Why is spelt easier to digest than wheat?  (1) Spelt’s gluten is water soluble and breaks down more easily than wheat’s gluten.  (2) Spelt, an ancient grain, has retained its hard outer hull for pest protection.  Modern wheat no longer has an outer hull and protects itself from pests with enzyme inhibitors (and enzymes are what we use to digest food!).

To read more about spelt and wheat check out:

www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/benefitsofspelt.htm

 

The best part of the ingredient list? What was missing.  There was no refined sugar on the list.  Amazing.

 

[caption id="attachment_1872" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Raspberry Muffin Ingredients Vegan Raspberry Muffin Ingredients[/caption]

 

First, all of the dry ingredients went into a bowl.

 

[caption id="attachment_1873" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Muffin Dry Ingredients Vegan Muffin Dry Ingredients[/caption]

 

Next, it was time to add the wet ingredients.  I dutifully added the lemon extract even as I was wondering if I had just bought an unnecessary bottle that would further clutter up my already bursting kitchen.

 

[caption id="attachment_1874" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Wet and Dry Muffin Ingredients Vegan Wet and Dry Muffin Ingredients[/caption]

 

I mixed everything together…

 

[caption id="attachment_1875" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Muffin Batter Vegan Muffin Batter[/caption]

 

And added the raspberries.

 

[caption id="attachment_1876" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Muffin Batter with Raspberries Vegan Muffin Batter with Raspberries[/caption]

 

I then evenly divided the batter into a lined muffin tray,

 

[caption id="attachment_1877" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Muffin Batter in Muffin Tin Vegan Muffin Batter in Muffin Tin[/caption]

 

And baked!

 

[caption id="attachment_1878" align="alignnone" width="640"]Baked Vegan Muffins Baked Vegan Muffins[/caption]

 

These muffins were not just good.  They were great.  The biggest test came when it was time for my fiancé to try one.  He doesn’t really like muffins (which I absolutely do NOT understand!).  In the past, this has left me with eating or gifting any muffins that I have baked.  This time was different.   He declared that they were “really special,” and polished off two.

Was it the lemon extract that I so grudgingly added that made these muffins magic?  I don’t know.   What I do know is that I will happily make space in my kitchen for the lemon extract, so I can make these muffins again.  Often.

 

[caption id="attachment_1879" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Muffin Cut in Half Vegan Muffin Cut in Half[/caption]

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Very Berry Vegan Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 2.25 cups whole spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ⅔ cup agave nectar
  • ⅔ cup rice milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • ⅔ cups berries (raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Put muffin liners in tin.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
  4. Mix in the coconut oil, agave nectar, rice, milk, vanilla, and lemon extract.
  5. Gently mix in the berries.
  6. Pour batter into lined muffin pans.
  7. Bake muffins for 22 minutes. After 15 minutes, rotate muffin pan 180 degrees so muffins bake evenly.
  8. Check muffins with toothpick. Muffins are finished, when the toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Enjoy immediately or allow to cool completely and store in airtight container at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

Alchemy: Vegan Tasting

[caption id="attachment_1854" align="alignnone" width="640"]Alchemy Sign Alchemy Sign[/caption]

 

UPDATE: ALCHEMY IS CLOSED!! THE RESTAURANT THAT IS GOING TO TAKE ITS PLACE IS RUMORED TO BE 100% VEGAN!

 

SOUTH PARK.  Once a month, Alchemy fills a glaring void in San Diego – the vegan fine dining experience.  San Francisco has Millennium, and Crossroads  recently opened in Los Angeles.

So how can a San Diegan celebrate a special occasion with vegan cuisine borne of creativity and artistry?  Simple.  Mark your calendar for the fourth Wednesday of the month, then head to Alchemy.

True, Alchemy offers vegan options on its regular menu, daily.  (See my previous post on Alchemy, but be aware that some of the dishes have changed!)  But the masterminds behind Alchemy have also created a special 4-course dinner menu – called the “Vegan Tasting” – that takes place on the fourth Wednesday of every month.  Each course changes each month, as do the wine pairings.  After my December tasting, I walked out into a brisk night feeling warm, inspired, and full of holiday cheer!

 

[caption id="attachment_1806" align="alignnone" width="316"]Vegan Tasting Menu Vegan Tasting Menu[/caption]

 

1st Course: Split Pea Soup:

 

A thoughtful soup can impress as much as an entree.  Case in point – the split pea soup infused with leeks, garlic, pea vines, and chive oil.  It was full bodied, smooth, but delivered a subtle spice that created warmth on a chilly night.  I soon found myself staring at the bottom of an empty bowl.

 

[caption id="attachment_1795" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Split Pea Soup Vegan Split Pea Soup[/caption]

 

 2nd Course: Warm Couscous Salad:

 

The second course was beautifully plated – trunks of English cucumber overflowing with Israeli couscous and topped with rhubarb, pomegranate seeds, and micro kale.  But the flavors again stole the show.  Specifically, I enjoyed the playful contrast between the cool baseline of the cucumber, the slight sweetness of the couscous, and the pronounced tartness of the rhubarb and pomegranate.  Each seed punctuated the creativity of this plate.

 

[caption id="attachment_1796" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Warm Cous Cous Salad Vegan Warm Cous Cous Salad[/caption]

 

 3rd Course: Spaghetti and Meatballs:

 

The main course proved that a talented chef can reinvent the classics with resounding success.  At first blush, I saw only meatballs.  But nestled in the middle of the plate, I found the “spaghetti” – delicate strands of spaghetti squash dressed in roasted garlic and dairy free parmesan and butter, coupled with heirloom tomatoes and bloomsdale spinach.  The tiniest bite delivered substantial flavor, enough to stand toe to toe with the meatballs.

From my previous life as an eager omnivore, I know what a good meatball tastes like.  And without hesitation, I can say that these were the best meatballs I have ever touched with a fork.  Ever.  I do not know how the chef did it.  I imagine the spices were plentiful and complex.  But I think it is fitting that a restaurant called Alchemy combined a mixture of plant-based foods and spices to yield the perfect meatball.

 

[caption id="attachment_1797" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs[/caption]

 

4th Course: Pots De Creme:

 

Finally, it was time for dessert.  The Pots de Crème had the consistency of mousse, but with a deep flavor of dark chocolate.   Further, with cocoa nibs sprinkled on top, this dessert delivered a double dose of chocolate love.  I also loved the presentation – small, yellow flowers that added a splash of color to the dish.  And yes, I did eat a few, because edible flowers are delightful!

 

[caption id="attachment_1800" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Pots de Creme Vegan Pots de Creme[/caption]

 

Alchemy’s interior is cozy and unique.  Soft lighting and a friendly, knowledgeable staff create a relaxing environment for dinner.  Don’t forget to check out the silver tree rising from the center of the restaurant or the local artwork adorning the walls.  Alchemy offers a welcome departure from normal.

 

[caption id="attachment_1801" align="alignnone" width="640"]Alchemy Interior Alchemy Interior[/caption]

 

Alchemy excels at preparation – all of the dishes tasted fresh and were meticulously spiced – and presentation – each dish was thoughtfully arranged and plated.   It makes eating at Alchemy a truly enjoyable experience.  My fiancé and I split a wine pairing (someone had to be able to drive home at the end of the night!), and enjoyed them all.

My favorite part of the meal ended up being something intangible.  Life, especially during the holidays, can be stressful and rushed.  It was cathartic to enjoy the time and progression of a 4-course dinner.  So thank you, Alchemy.  I will be back soon.

 

Practical Tips:

 

Want to know the menu for the next vegan tasting? Alchemy regularly updates the home page with news and information, including the vegan tasting menu!  Check out Alchemy’s website at:

http://alchemysandiego.com/

 

Also remember that Alchemy often sells out of the vegan tasting menu.  To ensure that you don’t miss out, make a reservation!

1503 30th St

San Diego, CA 92102

619.255.0616

 

Vegan Date Bars

It would be impossible for me to overstate my feelings about dates.  Quite simply, I love them.  I tried my first fresh date three years a go when I arrived in California.  I was hooked, after my first bite into this sweet fruit.  They tasted so good – almost like a caramel candy!  So you can imagine how happy I was when I found out that dates not only are tasty but also are healthy!  Dates are good sources of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants.  Click on the link below to find out more about the benefits of eating dates.

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-dates-4386.html

 

One of my favorite recipes using dates comes from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks’ Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets.

 

 

I have been very happy with all of the recipes I have made from The Joy of Vegan Baking.  The Date Bars – a sweet date filling sandwiched between delicious, oat layers – are no exception.

 

[caption id="attachment_1786" align="alignnone" width="640"]Date Bars on Table Date Bars on Table[/caption]

 

To get started, gather up your ingredients!

 

[caption id="attachment_1766" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Date Bar Ingredients Vegan Date Bar Ingredients[/caption]

 

Remove the pits from the dates.  I suggest wetting your hands during the “de-pitting” process, as it makes the dates easier to handle.  I like to use either Medjool or Barhi dates, but I’m sure there are other types that would work as well!

 

[caption id="attachment_1767" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pitted Dates Pitted Dates[/caption]

 

Next, chop up the dates.

 

[caption id="attachment_1768" align="alignnone" width="640"]Chopped Dates Chopped Dates[/caption]

 

Add the dates, vanilla, and salt to the boiling water.  This is when delicious aromas will begin to fill your kitchen.  This date mixture tastes good on its own.  I highly recommend taking a time out for a taste test!

 

[caption id="attachment_1769" align="alignnone" width="640"]Filling Ingredients on Stove Filling Ingredients on Stove[/caption]

 

Assemble all of the ingredients for the oat layers in a bowl…

 

[caption id="attachment_1770" align="alignnone" width="640"]Topping Ingredients in Bowl Topping Ingredients in Bowl[/caption]

 

And combine!

 

[caption id="attachment_1771" align="alignnone" width="640"]Topping Ingredients Mixed Together Topping Ingredients Mixed Together[/caption]

 

Take half of the oat layer mixture, and press it into the greased baking pan.

 

[caption id="attachment_1772" align="alignnone" width="640"]1st Layer: Date Bars 1st Layer: Date Bars[/caption]

 

Then add the date mixture…

 

[caption id="attachment_1773" align="alignnone" width="640"]Date Filling Date Filling[/caption]

 

And spread evenly.

 

[caption id="attachment_1774" align="alignnone" width="640"]2nd Layer: Date Filling 2nd Layer: Date Filling[/caption]

 

Add the second oat layer on top of the date mixture, and press it down gently with your hands.

 

[caption id="attachment_1775" align="alignnone" width="640"]3rd Layer: Topping 3rd Layer: Topping[/caption]

 

It’s now ready for the oven!

 

[caption id="attachment_1776" align="alignnone" width="640"]Side View Date Bars Side View Date Bars[/caption]

 

Keep in mind that it is best to allow the bars to cool before cutting.

 

[caption id="attachment_1777" align="alignnone" width="640"]Date Bars with Corner Cut Out Date Bars with Corner Cut Out[/caption]

 

The Date Bars are perfect for any time of the day.  Their coffee cake like consistency make them a great breakfast or brunch treat, and they work well as a mid-day snack or as a dessert at the end of a meal.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

 

[caption id="attachment_1783" align="alignnone" width="640"]Stack of Date Bars Stack of Date Bars[/caption]

Vegan Date Bars
 
Ingredients
  • Filling
  • 1.25 cups water
  • 16-18 dates Medjool dates or 32-36 Barhi dates, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Oat Layer
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup non-dairy butter (like Earth Balance), melted
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup water (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease an 8 x 8 pan
  3. To make filling, bring water to boil and add chopped dates, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Allow to simmer until dates are soft
  5. To make the oat layer, mix oats, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, non-dairy butter, and canola oil
  6. Stir until combined. Add additional water if necessary. Mixture should be moist but not wet.
  7. Press half of the oat layer into the greased pan.
  8. Spread date mixture over crust.
  9. Press other half of the oat layer over date layer.
  10. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool, and cut into bars.
  12. Enjoy immediately, or store in airtight container.

 

Plumeria: Vegan Friendly

[caption id="attachment_1676" align="alignnone" width="640"]Plumeria Sign Plumeria Sign[/caption]

 

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS.  Plumeria is a vegetarian, Thai restaurant that offers a wide array of vegan appetizers, salads, entrees, curries, noodle dishes, and desserts.  I’ve received a number of emails from The Fussy Fork’s readers asking me to blog about Plumeria, so here it is!

Plumeria is committed to using quality ingredients.  They pledge to use organic vegetables when available, not to use MSG or products containing MSG, use non-GMO and gluten-free tofu produced locally by San Diego Soy Company, and use organic, gluten-free soy milk!  Their quality ingredients and clearly labeled vegan menu items help to eliminate the guesswork when dining out!

We arrived hungry for lunch and decided to start with the Fresh Spring Roll appetizer made with rice noodles, tofu, and lettuce wrapped in rice paper and served with home made peanut and pineapple sauces.  The rolls were fresh and light.  They took the edge off my hunger without filling me up too much!  Don’t miss out on the peanut sauce — it is rich, creamy, and obviously full of fresh ingredients!

 

IMG_3127

 

Next was the Eggplant entrée made from sautéed eggplant, bell peppers, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, crushed chili, and basil in house sauce.  We added fried tofu (you can also add vegetables, steamed tofu, or vegan duck, chicken, beef, or shrimp).  This dish is truly special.  The eggplant practically melts in your mouth, the veggies are tender, and the sauce flavorful.  Definitely worth ordering!

 

IMG_3135

 

My favorite item on the menu is the Pumpkin Curry entrée made from pumpkin, eggplant, bell peppers, bamboo shoots, and fresh basil in a red curry sauce.  I love all things pumpkin, and this dish is no exception.  The spicy curry highlights the sweetness of the pumpkin and the eggplant.   Add in some fresh vegetables, and you have a winning combination.  I really could eat this every day.

 

IMG_3140

 

Entrees also come with a side of rice (in the shape of a star no less!).  Choose from white rice, brown rice, or…

 

IMG_3138

 

A mix of white and brown rice!

 

IMG_3132

 

And don’t forget dessert!  We ordered the fried banana with vegan coconut ice cream.  A crisp, warm exterior with a warm, creamy banana interior.  It is then all topped with agave.  Heavenly!

 

IMG_3143

 

Plumeria creates a cozy dining environment with purple seat cushions and a beautiful wall mural with blooming flowers.  A great place to settle in for a meal.

 

[caption id="attachment_1741" align="alignnone" width="640"]Plumeria Interior Plumeria Interior[/caption]

 

There are also a few tables outside if you want to soak up the sun or enjoy a warm night.  It’s also perfect for those who want to dine out with their dogs!

 

[caption id="attachment_1742" align="alignnone" width="640"]Plumeria Patio Plumeria Patio[/caption]

 

Bottom line, if you haven’t eaten at Plumeria, you are missing out!

 

4661 Park Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92116

619.269.9989

 

Vegan Book Review + A Bonus Recipe: Just in Time for the Holidays!

The holidays are here, people are looking for gift ideas, and I am strong believer in books.  Especially some of the books that unlock and demystify the whole foods, plant based lifestyle.  My favorites are listed below.  They range from a professional athlete’s quest for the most efficient fuel to a frightening examination of the economics and social costs behind the meat and dairy industries.  But let’s kick things off with a definitive classic . . .

 

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-term Health (by T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell II, John Robbins, and Howard Lyman)

 

The China Study explores the connection between diet and the risk of developing the major killers of the modern era – heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  The conclusion – don’t worry, it’s not a mystery novel – is that eating a vegan diet and reducing consumption of processed foods dramatically lowers the risk of these diseases.  The analysis along the way is delicious.  For those who love lab trials and statistics, you are totally covered.  And for those who prefer a message boiled down to plain English, you are good to go.

People feel strongly about The China Study.  Supporters believe it is groundbreaking work on showing the benefits of the vegan diet, while critics believe that the empirical evidence does not support the dramatic conclusions.  This year, Dr. Campbell published a second book Whole (also an interesting read!), which responds to these critiques.  I imagine the debate will go on.

Bottom line, The China Study will come up in many spirited debates on veganism.  With over 1 million copies sold since its publication in 2005, it is one of the most popular books on nutrition in the United States.

 

 

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (by Michael Pollan)

 

Many have heard of Pollan’s earlier book, the Omnivore’s Dilemma, but I greatly prefer In Defense of Food.  In it, Pollan argues that within the last 50 years, real food has been replaced by processed “food like substances” injected with so-called nutrients.  The thesis is simple and rings true:  “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Although Pollan is not vegan (he believes small amounts of meat and dairy are not detrimental), his focus on eating whole foods drives home a greater point applicable to eaters of all persuasion – eat real food.  Or, put another way, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”  This book manages to educate and entertain, all the while moving swiftly and with clear purpose.  I continue to “re-read” it on my I-pod during my runs.  Maybe it’s weird?  But I love it.

 

 

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness (by Scott Jurek)

 

Here is another frequent flyer on my I-pod.  In Eat and Run, Scott Jurek recounts how he began running ultramarathons (any race that is longer than the 26.2 mile marathon) and transitioned to a vegan diet.  Jurek is an ultramarathon icon – some of his notable victories include winning the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run seven years in a row, the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon twice, and the 153 mile Sparthathlon three times.  (No, I did not mistype those distances.)

As a professional endurance athlete, Jurek is acutely aware of how food affects his performance.  In the book, Jurek chronicles how he became a vegan after growing up on meat and potatoes in Minnesota.  He further explains how his plant based diet unraveled common myths about nutrition and led to the best results of his professional career.  In addition, at the end of each chapter, Jurek shares a favorite recipe.  The recipes range from smoothies to chili, and from granola to pizza.  Whether you are looking for an inspirational story or new vegan recipes, this book is definitely worth checking out!

Just to be fair, I will share one of my favorite recipes from the book with you now!

 

[caption id="attachment_1735" align="alignnone" width="551"]Green Power Pre-Workout Drink Green Power Pre-Workout Drink[/caption]

 

Green Power Pre-Workout Drink
 
Ingredients
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup frozen/fresh mango or pineapple chunks
  • 4 cups water (I use less, but you can play around!)
  • 2 teaspoons spirulina powder
  • 1 teaspoon miso
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth!
  2. Drink 15-45 minutes before a workout

 

[caption id="attachment_1787" align="alignnone" width="640"]Green Smoothie Green Smoothie[/caption]

 

 

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (by Michael Moss)

 

Michael Moss is an investigative reporter with the New York Times who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for his reporting on pink slime in meat.  In Salt, Sugar, Fat, he explores the ways in which food companies engineer artificial foods to manipulate our biological desires for salt, sugar, and fat.  Moss reveals the tactics these companies use to snare consumers.  The parallels to the tobacco industry are compelling, and sad.  Further, Moss’ investigative talents are on display when we read the blow-by-blow details of a confidential meeting of the heads of all the major food companies – in one room – as they decided the fate of junk food in America.  Chilling.

 

 

Meatonomics: How the Rigged Economics of Meat and Dairy Make You Consume Too Much and How to Eat Better, Live Longer, and Spend Smarter (by David Simon)

 

In Meatonomics, David Simon calculates that the animal food system costs $414 billion each year in external health, environmental, and animal welfare costs.  And if these costs were incorporated into meat prices, the cost of meat would triple.  In other words, the real cost of a $4 Big Mac – to society – is $11.  So why is this industry getting away with dumping all of its external costs?  Lobbying.  This carefully researched book reveals the impact of powerful lobbying by shining the light on subsidies and regulations that expose our legislators as beholden to special interests.  The sad part, of course, is that the goals of these special interests are not aligned with a healthy budget or a healthy population.

 

 

My Beef with Meat: The Healthiest Argument for Eating a Plant-Strong Diet – Plus 140 Engine 2 Recipes (by Rip Esselstyn)

 

Rip Esselstyn is a former firefighter and triathlete, and son of the renowned cardiologist, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (one of the forefathers of the plant based diet in America). My Beef with Meat makes excellent use of short, punchy chapters.  Each chapter addresses a question posed by critics of veganism, including the ubiquitous “How do you get enough protein?”  The answers are plain spoken and persuasive.  (For those who want the supporting science, trials, and scholarship, Rip provides references to source material and articles.)   This book is about confronting myths and breaking down complex truths into understandable pieces.  If you want the ammunition for your next cocktail party full of non-believers, this is your book.

 

Vegan Whipped Cream

December is the season for desserts.  And isn’t every dessert made better with a dollop of whipped cream?  I recently attended Veg-Appeal’s vegan holiday cooking class and was blown away by their 3-ingredient Whipped Cashew Cream recipe (the link for the Veg-Appeal class is at: www.thefussyfork.com/veg-appeal/).  So much so that I had to share it with you!

 

[caption id="attachment_1662" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Whipped Cream on Brownie Vegan Whipped Cream on Brownie[/caption]

 

First, it’s time to gather the ingredients.  It won’t take much time!

 

[caption id="attachment_1658" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Whipped Cream Ingredients Vegan Whipped Cream Ingredients[/caption]

 

Next, soak the cashews.  Simply, place the cashews in a bowl and pour water on top.

 

[caption id="attachment_1667" align="alignnone" width="640"]Soaking Cashews Soaking Cashews[/caption]

 

Once the cashews have soaked for a few hours, drain the water.

 

[caption id="attachment_1659" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cashews in Strainer Cashews in Strainer[/caption]

 

Place all of the ingredients in the blender…

 

[caption id="attachment_1660" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Whipped Cream in Blender Vegan Whipped Cream in Blender[/caption]

 

And combine until smooth and fluffy!

 

[caption id="attachment_1661" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Whipped Cream in Blender Vegan Whipped Cream in Blender[/caption]

 

The cashew cream will taste light, sweet, and creamy.

 

[caption id="attachment_1665" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cashew Cream in Bowl Cashew Cream in Bowl[/caption]

 

So good, you won’t want to go back to traditional whipped cream!

 

[caption id="attachment_1668" align="alignnone" width="640"]Aerial View of Brownie and Vegan Whipped Cream Aerial View of Brownie and Vegan Whipped Cream[/caption]

 

 

Vegan Whipped Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups soaked cashews
  • ¼ - ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Soak cashews in water for 2-8 hours
  2. Drain cashews
  3. Place all ingredients in blender and pulse until smooth and fluffy
  4. For best results, refrigerate for a new hours before serving

 

Coffee Cup: Vegan Friendly

LA JOLLA.  Coffee Cup is tucked into a sleepy section of the village in La Jolla.  But don’t let the quiet exterior fool you.  Inside, there is a small, bustling restaurant with excellent vegan options for both breakfast and lunch.  It fills up fast on the weekends, as the early to risers are hungry after their morning rides, surfs, and swims, and the late risers are hungry from . . . well . . . sleeping.

 

[caption id="attachment_1626" align="alignnone" width="640"]Coffee Cup Sign Coffee Cup Sign[/caption]

 

We started with the Muslix, a roasted grain cereal mixed with almonds, raisins and pure cane brown sugar.  It is topped with various fruits and berries.  Be sure to ask for soymilk to keep it vegan!

Coffee Cup’s Muslix is not a bland, boring cereal.  These are not the stale flakes that you might find at a disappointing motel buffet.  To the contrary, this cereal provides a pleasant crunch, it is not too sweet, and the fresh fruit and creamy soymilk round out a satisfying dish.

 

[caption id="attachment_1627" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Muslix from Coffee Cup Vegan Muslix from Coffee Cup[/caption]

 

Next was Brian’s Special.  A scoop of brown rice and beans along with broccoli, avocado, green onion, and tomatillo sauce, served with two tortillas.  If you want to go big (as the Fussy Fork is prone to do), you can add marinated tofu.  It is too good.  Everything is cooked and spiced to perfection.  I end up ordering Brian’s Special every time.  It’s my not-so-guilty habit.

But I encourage you to explore the rest of Coffee Cup’s vegan friendly menu.  The staff is extremely accommodating.  Feel free to substitute tofu for meat or to request that cheese be left off a salad.  I’ve never received a dish that was anything less than delicious from Coffee Cup.

 

[caption id="attachment_1628" align="alignnone" width="640"]Brian's Special from Coffee Cup Brian’s Special from Coffee Cup[/caption]

 

Coffee Cup is cozy on the inside, where most seats give a clear view of what’s going on in the kitchen.  And there is additional seating on the dog friendly patio!

 

[caption id="attachment_1630" align="alignnone" width="640"]Coffee Cup Kitchen Coffee Cup Kitchen[/caption]

 

And if the tofu at Coffee Cup looks and tastes familiar, that’s not surprising.  This place is owned by the same folks that run Isabel’s Cantina (review coming soon!) and Barrio Star (reviewed at: www.thefussyfork.com/vegan-friendly-barrio-star/)  Bottom line, these people take tofu seriously.

 

[caption id="attachment_1629" align="alignnone" width="609"]Interior Coffee Cup Interior Coffee Cup[/caption]

 

 

1109 Wall Street

La Jolla, CA 92037

858.551.8514

 

Good On Ya Breakfast Bar

We all eat on the go.  Despite efforts to plan meals, at some point we all find ourselves grabbing something as we head out the door.  My “go to” snack is often a Good On Ya Breakfast Bar.  Why?  I love the taste, and I recognize every organic, vegan ingredient listed on the nutrition panel.

Kristen Buchanan, a former Olympic athlete, founded Good On Ya in 2001.  The company is dedicated to creating quality products.  Good On Ya lives by its motto, “every ingredient matters.”  All of the ingredients used in the Good On Ya Breakfast Bar are organic and non-GMO.  The bars are also free from gluten, soy, and dairy.

To learn more about Kristen Buchanan and Good On Ya, read the following link:

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/Feb/04/Former-Olympic-athlete-expanding-organic-foods/

 

[caption id="attachment_1639" align="alignnone" width="640"]Good On Ya Bar Out of Package Good On Ya Bar Out of Package[/caption]

 

So what exactly is in the Good On Ya Breakfast Bar?  Raw hemp seeds, raisins, maple syrup, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate, sprouted flax, Brazil nuts, unfiltered olive oil, ground vanilla pods, and Celtic sea salt.   The breakfast bar is moist with contrasting sweet and salty flavors.  I always feel satisfied and happy after I finish a bar.

 

[caption id="attachment_1640" align="alignnone" width="640"]Good On Ya Breakfast Bar Good On Ya Breakfast Bar[/caption]

 

The Good On Ya Bar comes in multiple flavors.  However, be aware that the Breakfast Bar is the only flavor that is vegan (the other flavors use honey).

 

 

For more information about Good On Ya check out their website:

www.thegoodonyabar.com/

 

Vegan Eggnog

There’s nothing like ringing in the holiday season with some eggnog.  With a base of eggs, cream, or milk, traditional eggnog is decidedly not vegan.  But last December, nostalgia swept me into the holiday, and I felt compelled to make vegan eggnog.

 

[caption id="attachment_1618" align="alignnone" width="640"]Eggnog in Mason Jar Eggnog in Mason Jar[/caption]

 

Luckily, the world is full of vegans who love tinkering with recipes – and so I found a blog called Elana’s Pantry, with a great recipe for vegan eggnog:

www.elanaspantry.com/vegan-eggnog/

 

This eggnog is smooth, creamy, and well-spiced.  A taste of the holidays in a glass!

 

[caption id="attachment_1617" align="alignnone" width="640"]Close up Eggnog Close up Eggnog[/caption]

 

This could be the first time ever that all of the necessary ingredients were already stocked in my kitchen.  Most are typical – almonds, agave, vanilla, and spices.  The outlier was Yacon syrup.  Yacon syrup is a sweetener made from the South American Yacon root.  It tastes like molasses and can be used in cooking and baking.  I had used it once before for an icing recipe and was excited to try it again.

 

[caption id="attachment_1621" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Eggnog Ingredients Vegan Eggnog Ingredients[/caption]

 

As I researched Yacon syrup for this post, I was surprised to learn about its potential health benefits.  Yacon syrup has a low glycemic index, is relatively low in calories, contains beneficial bacteria, and may help to control appetite and food cravings.  It may also help with the absorption of dietary minerals and increase the efficiency of the immune system.

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/yacon-syrup-project

 

The recent explosion of articles on Yacon Syrup is a result of Dr. Oz.  On November 4, 2013, the great and powerful Oz featured the syrup on his show as a possible weight loss tool.  To see this episode, click on:

http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/metabolism-game-changer

 

 

Now back to the recipe!  The first step is to place the almonds in a bowl and cover them completely with water.

 

[caption id="attachment_1612" align="alignnone" width="640"]Almonds Soaking Almonds Soaking[/caption]

 

The almonds absorb quite a bit of water while they are soaking.  Then combine the almonds and the water in the blender until smooth.

 

[caption id="attachment_1613" align="alignnone" width="640"]Soaked Almonds Soaked Almonds[/caption]

 

It is then time to strain the mixture through a nut milk bag.  I use the Amazing Nut Milk Bag pictured below.  The one-gallon, oval shaped nylon bag is sturdy, reusable, and easy to clean.

 

 

I have also heard of people using a cheese cloth to strain nut milk, but I have no personal experience with the cloth.

 

[caption id="attachment_1614" align="alignnone" width="640"]Straining Almond Milk Straining Almond Milk[/caption]

 

The fine mesh of the nut milk bag allows only the liquid to pass through, leaving you with smooth, creamy almond milk.  Don’t want to waste the almond meal that accumulates in the nut milk bag?  No problem.  You can dehydrate the almond meal to create almond flour.  There are also recipes that specifically call for almond meal as an ingredient!  (The Fussy Fork plans to post one such recipe in the near future.)

 

[caption id="attachment_1615" align="alignnone" width="640"]Almond Milk with Almond Pulp Almond Milk with Almond Pulp[/caption]

 

It’s then time to combine the remainder of the ingredients with the almond milk.

 

[caption id="attachment_1623" align="alignnone" width="640"]Combining Vegan Eggnog Ingredients Combining Vegan Eggnog Ingredients[/caption]

 

I love this vegan eggnog.  It heralds the holiday season.  And of course, if you want to take it up a notch, try adding some spiced rum!

 

[caption id="attachment_1619" align="alignnone" width="640"]Eggnog with Radiating Candy Canes Eggnog with Radiating Candy Canes[/caption]

 

Vegan Eggnog
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups almonds
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons yacon syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • ¼ ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
Instructions
  1. soak almonds for 8 hours or overnight
  2. discard soaking water and rinse almonds with fresh water
  3. put soaked almonds and water in blender
  4. blend for at least 90 seconds
  5. pour mixture into nut milk bag and strain
  6. set aside almond pulp
  7. pour almond milk into blender and add vanilla, agave nectar, yacon syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves
  8. blend for 10 seconds
  9. enjoy immediately or store in refrigerator

Rawmio

If you think Nutella is the best spread out there, you obviously haven’t tried Rawmio’s nut butters.  Rawmio specializes in stone ground almond and hazelnut butters that are certified organic, vegan, raw, and gluten-free.  Theses nut butters are decadent treats that come in 3 varieties: silk, original, and crunch.

 

[caption id="attachment_1555" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lined Up Rawmio Nut Butters Lined Up Rawmio Nut Butters[/caption]

 

Almond Butters

 

(1) Original Almond

Rawmio Raw Chocolate Almond Spread – 6oz

The original almond butter is anything but boring.  It is made from raw almonds, raw cacao nibs, and coconut sugar.  It has a rich, dark chocolate flavor that is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth!

 

[caption id="attachment_1548" align="alignnone" width="564"]Rawmio's Original Almond Butter Rawmio’s Original Almond Butter[/caption]

 

(2) Almond Crunch

Rawmio Almond Crunch Spreads – 01/6 oz. Jar

 

The Almond Crunch is a crunchy “milk” chocolate spread made from raw coconut, raw almonds, coconut sugar, raw cacao nibs, raw vanilla bean powder, and raw Himalayan pink salt.  The pieces of almond and the cacao nibs give this spread a pleasant crunch.

 

[caption id="attachment_1549" align="alignnone" width="389"]Rawmio Almond Crunch Butter Rawmio Almond Crunch Butter[/caption]

 

Hazelnut Butters

 

(1) Original Hazelnut

Rawmio Chocolate Hazelnut Spreads – 01/6 oz. Jar
The original hazelnut butter is a smooth, dark chocolate spread made from raw sprouted hazelnuts, raw cacao nibs, and coconut sugar.  Does there exist a better pairing than chocolate and hazelnuts?  This one disappeared fast.

 

[caption id="attachment_1550" align="alignnone" width="413"]Rawmio Original Hazelnut Butter Rawmio Original Hazelnut Butter[/caption]

 

(2) Hazelnut Silk

Windy City Organics Rawmio Hazelnut Silk Spread — 6 oz

 

Hazelnut Silk presents a fun twist on a white chocolate spread.  It is made from raw coconut, raw sprouted hazelnuts, coconut sugar, raw cacao butter, raw vanilla bean powder, raw Himalayan pink salt.  The coconut and cacao butter deliver the “milky” flavor.  This product might take the prize for most unique nut butter.  In a very good way.

 

[caption id="attachment_1551" align="alignnone" width="395"]Rawmio Hazelnut Silk Butter Rawmio Hazelnut Silk Butter[/caption]

 

Wondering where you can find Rawmio? Check out their online store:

http://www.rawguru.com/store/rawmio-raw-chocolate/

 

More information on Rawmio’s nut butters and other products (think raw chocolate bars and cakes!) can be found on their website:

http://www.rawmio.com/

 

[caption id="attachment_1547" align="alignnone" width="640"]Rawmio Nut Butters Rawmio Nut Butters[/caption]

Veg-Appeal: 100% Vegan

What is Veg-Appeal?

 

Veg-Appeal is a company focused on helping individuals and groups achieve their health goals through whole-food, plant-based eating.  Co-Directors, Tracy Childs and Ami Chitalia, offer cooking classes, individual nutritional consulting, workshops, presentations, and corporate programs.    I recently attended their class focused on healthy holiday eating.  They teamed up with Cherie Leonard, a Weight Watchers group leader, to present some truly tasty and nutritious vegan holiday foods.

 

The Class:

 

This class took place at “Cooking-4-Life” in Kearny Mesa (Veg-Appeal is always on the move, popping up in different locations across San Diego County).  Tables and chairs surrounded the kitchen, ensuring attendees were comfortable and had a clear view of the action.

 

[caption id="attachment_1472" align="alignnone" width="640"]Veg Appeal Class Preparation Veg Appeal Class Preparation[/caption]

 

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad:

 

First up was the Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad.  The base is kale, Brussels sprouts, and a healthy serving of cabbage.

 

[caption id="attachment_1476" align="alignnone" width="640"]Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad[/caption]

 

Add some toasted almonds, dried cranberries, and a light lemon dressing, and the result is a salad with various tastes and textures.  I will definitely be making this salad at home in the near future!

 

[caption id="attachment_1477" align="alignnone" width="640"]Plate of Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad Plate of Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad[/caption]

 

Garlicky Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes:

 

These mashed potatoes, made from cauliflower and Yukon gold potatoes, were savory and smooth.  How are they healthier than normal mashed potatoes?  Three reasons.  First, there is no cream or butter.  Second, the recipe calls for unpeeled potatoes.  Many of a potato’s nutrients are in the skin.  Finally, it is a great way to get a serving of cauliflower.  Seriously, you only taste the potatoes.

 

[caption id="attachment_1474" align="alignnone" width="640"]Preparing Garlicky Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes Preparing Garlicky Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes[/caption]

 

Tempeh Meatloaf:

 

I was excited to taste the Tempeh Meatloaf.  (I have tried out a few lentil loaf recipes, but the results have been mediocre at best.)  The tempeh, nutritional yeast, and spices ensured that this loaf was full of flavor.  The surprise ingredient, the rolled oats, worked with the tempeh to give the loaf substance.  This loaf will fill you up!

 

[caption id="attachment_1492" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tempeh Loaf Tempeh Loaf[/caption]

 

Simple Mushroom Gravy:

 

The holidays would not be complete without gravy.  Or in this case, vegan gravy made from a mushroom base.  This thick gravy was a perfect topping.  If you’re wondering whether the gravy tastes good on top of the meatloaf and the mashed potatoes, the answer is yes!

 

[caption id="attachment_1486" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tempeh Loaf and Mashed Potatoes with Gravy Tempeh Loaf and Mashed Potatoes with Gravy[/caption]

 

Stovetop Apple Pie with Oat Crumble Topping:

 

This pie showcases the naturally sweet taste of quality apples.  Mixed with spices and a little maple syrup, the apples simply simmered on the stovetop.

 

[caption id="attachment_1482" align="alignnone" width="640"]Stovetop Apples Stovetop Apples[/caption]

 

After throwing some nuts, oats, dates, raisins, ground flax (I told you this recipe was healthy!), and a few other ingredients into the food processor, the crumble topping was ready.

 

[caption id="attachment_1480" align="alignnone" width="640"]Preparing Oat Crumble Topping Preparing Oat Crumble Topping[/caption]

 

Whipped Cashew Cream

 

My favorite recipe of the day was the whipped cashew cream. This cream (made from only 3 ingredients!) tastes rich and decadent.   I could have eaten it like a bowl of ice cream.

 

[caption id="attachment_1473" align="alignnone" width="563"]Tracy making cashew cream Tracy making cashew cream[/caption]

 

But it was also good as a dessert topping!

 

[caption id="attachment_1488" align="alignnone" width="640"]Close Up of Stovetop Apple Pie Close Up of Stovetop Apple Pie[/caption]

 

Takeaways:

 

I would recommend signing up for a Veg-Appeal class soon!  The instructors are passionate about plant-based, whole-foods.  They enjoyed answering questions and explaining the health benefits of each dish.  For a list of upcoming classes and events, click on:

http://www.veg-appeal.com/page11/page11.html

 

Their website can be found at:

http://www.veg-appeal.com/index.html

 

Ami Chitalia: 858.335.0623

email: info@veg-appeal.com

 

Vegan Sunflower Butter Carrot Smoothie

Anyone who has read my post on Go Raw L.I.F.E. Center knows how much I love their Sunbutter Smoothies (www.thefussyfork.com/go-raw-life-center/).  I could drink one every day.  In fact, while I was on the Go Raw six day meal plan that is exactly what I did.  I have missed them.  Last week when I was grocery shopping, I saw sunflower butter on sale.  It made me wonder if I could re-create this delicious smoothie in my own kitchen.

 

[caption id="attachment_1436" align="alignnone" width="640"]Sunflower Butter Carrot Smoothie Sunflower Butter Carrot Smoothie[/caption]

 

I assembled the required ingredients in my basket on faith.  After all, who would guess that carrot juice and cacao powder would compliment each other?

 

[caption id="attachment_1433" align="alignnone" width="640"]Sunflower Butter Smoothie Ingredients Sunflower Butter Smoothie Ingredients[/caption]

 

If you’ve never seen sunflower butter, it can be found on Amazon!

Smoothies taste best cold.  The easiest way to chill a smoothie is of course to add ice.  However, this also has the undesired effect of diluting the smoothie.  Enter frozen bananas.

If you are new to freezing bananas (it is a great way to save those bananas that are on the brink of becoming over ripe!), simply follow these steps:

(1) Unpeel the bananas.  It is extremely difficult to take the peel off of a frozen banana.

(2) Break the banana in half.  Whole, frozen bananas can be unwieldy.

(3) Store bananas in a Ziploc bag.  They will keep indefinitely.

 

[caption id="attachment_1434" align="alignnone" width="640"]Frozen Bananas Frozen Bananas[/caption]

 

I won’t say that the compilation of ingredients in my blender looked pretty (or that my blender couldn’t use a good scrubbing!) but that is often the case with smoothies.  The final product is more than the sum of its parts.

 

[caption id="attachment_1435" align="alignnone" width="536"]Sunflower Butter Smoothie Ingredients Sunflower Butter Smoothie Ingredients[/caption]

 

The resulting rich and sweet smoothie is decadent with a milkshake like consistency.  Quite simply, this is the best smoothie I have ever made.  I hope you enjoy it as much I have!

 

[caption id="attachment_1437" align="alignnone" width="640"]Aerial View of Sunflower Butter Carrot Smoothie Aerial View of Sunflower Butter Carrot Smoothie[/caption]

 

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Sunflower Butter Carrot Smoothie
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1.5 cups carrot juice
  • ½ cup sunflower butter
  • 4 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 3 medjool dates
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and pulse until smooth
  2. Enjoy immediately (or pour leftovers in glass and store in refrigerator)

 

 

 

 

Anthem Vegan: 100% Vegan

[caption id="attachment_1392" align="alignnone" width="640"]Anthem Vegan Logo Anthem Vegan Logo[/caption]

 

If you think being vegan means giving up your favorite Philly Cheesesteak think again.  Anthem Vegan will wow you with their take on traditionally meaty dishes.  What else will wow you?  The friendly service.  The founder and main cook, Patrick Murray, welcomes new eaters, speaks passionately about his menu, and cooks with gusto.

My favorite menu item? The Quinoa Black Bean Tacos.  Two soft tortillas hold basil garlic quinoa with carrots, onions, kale, black beans, and pico de gallo.  Why two tortillas?  Because these are serious tacos, and a single tortilla would likely crumble under their weight.  After eating two, I usually can’t move.

 

[caption id="attachment_1420" align="alignnone" width="640"]Quinoa Black Bean Tacos Quinoa Black Bean Tacos[/caption]

 

Sometimes the best dishes are made from an eclectic group of ingredients.  Anthem Vegan’s menu describes the Breakfast Sausage Hash as “a big pile of pretty much everything.”  As the menu suggests, there is a lot going on in this dish.  Potatoes, seasoned herb tofu, breakfast sausage, and onions combine together to create a tasty entrée.  It’s the kind of food I’d be happy to eat any time of the day!

 

[caption id="attachment_1385" align="alignnone" width="640"]Breakfast Sausage Hash Breakfast Sausage Hash[/caption]

 

One of Anthem’s most popular entrees is the vegan Philly Cheesesteak.  Karne, red and green bell peppers, onions, Daiya Cheese and Cheese Whiz lie invitingly on a roll.  Anthem Vegan’s karne is good.  So good, that I have seen non-vegans pause for a sample at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market and decide to eat dinner there based on their taste.  My non-vegan friend who ordered this sandwich reported between mouthfulls that she would happily eat it again!

 

[caption id="attachment_1386" align="alignnone" width="640"]Philly Cheesesteak Philly Cheesesteak[/caption]

 

Another great option is the SoyCAL Burrito made from karne asada, soyrizo, rosemary garlic potatoes, guacamole, and chipotle aioli.  This time the karne is chopped into smaller pieces and plays more of a supporting role.  The flavors of this burrito, especially the smoky chipotle, set it apart from the masses.

 

[caption id="attachment_1384" align="alignnone" width="640"]SoyCal Burrito SoyCal Burrito[/caption]

 

Below is Anthem Vegan’s full menu.  Its rumored that Anthem Vegan also sometimes features amazing specials.

 

[caption id="attachment_1391" align="alignnone" width="565"]Anthem Vegan Menu Anthem Vegan Menu[/caption]

 

Where Can You Find Anthem Vegan?

 

Monday: 1st and 3rd Monday @ Ritual Tavern from 6pm – 9pm

Tuesday: SD Humane Society from 11am – 2pm

Wednesday: OB Farmers Market

Friday and Saturday: 30th and Lincoln (Auto Zone parking lot) from 11pm – 2:30am.

Sunday: Hillcrest Farmers Market

 

[caption id="attachment_1389" align="alignnone" width="640"]Anthem Vegan on Patio of Ritual Tavern Anthem Vegan on Patio of Ritual Tavern[/caption]

https://www.facebook.com/AnthemVegan

 

Vegan Rosemary Avocado Quick Bread

I reserve Tuesday mornings for my vegan cooking class at Casa de Luz in San Diego.  It’s a time for experimenting with new recipes and connecting with other vegans in the community.  Liz Gary is a wonderful teacher who organizes the class and ensures we never run out of recipes.  Recently, a regular attendee, Gina Sample, led our group through a number of delicious dishes, one of which was Rosemary Avocado Quick Bread.  I liked it so much that I had to make my own loaf and share the recipe with you!

Gina has a website which focuses on plant based nutrition for athletes (this makes sense since she is a triathlete!).  Gina shares vegan recipes specifically geared towards athletes and maintains a blog.  She also offers services like vegan cooking classes and demos.  To learn more about Gina, check out her website at:

http://theveganlab.com/

 

[caption id="attachment_1403" align="alignnone" width="640"]Ariel View of Rosemary Quick Bread Ariel View of Rosemary Quick Bread[/caption]

 

The genius of this bread is its simplicity.   Notably absent are the usual warnings about over mixing dough or the dangers of not adding enough yeast.  In this recipe, you just mix the ingredients together, put the dough in a loaf pan, and bake.

 

[caption id="attachment_1395" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Ingredients Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Ingredients[/caption]

 

This was also the first recipe I ever made using vegan buttermilk.  It turns out veganizing buttermilk is delightfully easy.  It is as simple as combining lemon juice or apple cider vinegar with almond milk.

 

[caption id="attachment_1396" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Buttermilk Vegan Buttermilk[/caption]

 

Next, it was time to gather the dry ingredients in a bowl.

 

[caption id="attachment_1397" align="alignnone" width="536"]Rosemary Quick Bread Dry Ingredients Rosemary Quick Bread Dry Ingredients[/caption]

 

The recipe calls for mashed avocado (ie avocado that is free from lumps). I chose to put the avocado in my food processor and let it do the manual labor for me!  You could, of course, manually mash the avocado with a fork or potato masher.

 

[caption id="attachment_1398" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pureed Avocado Pureed Avocado[/caption]

 

There are two categories of vegan egg substitutes: (1) commercial products like Ener-G Egg Replacer or Bob’s Redmill Egg Replacer that are available for purchase or (2) home made egg substitutes.

The commercial products come in powder form and are made from things like potato starch and tapioca flour.  In this recipe I used Ener-G Egg Replacer.  1 egg = 1.5 teaspoons Ener-G + 2 tablespoons water.  I prepared this mixture in a separate bowl before combining it with the other ingredients.

Home made egg substitutes made with chia seeds or flax meal also work well in recipes.  1 egg = 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or flax meal + 3 tablespoons water.  It is important to prepare a home made egg substitute in a separate bowl and give it a few minutes to sit, so it can thicken.

 

[caption id="attachment_1399" align="alignnone" width="640"]Ener G Egg Replacer Ener G Egg Replacer[/caption]

 

It is then time to put all of the ingredients in a bowl…

 

[caption id="attachment_1400" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Ingredients Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Ingredients[/caption]

 

And mix them together!

 

[caption id="attachment_1401" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Dough Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Dough[/caption]

 

Once combined, the dough should be placed in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.

 

[caption id="attachment_1407" align="alignnone" width="640"]Dough in Loaf Pan Dough in Loaf Pan[/caption]

 

After 40-45 minutes in the oven, you will have a lovely looking loaf of bread that has a slight green hue from the avocado.  Perhaps, this is also destined to be a St. Patrick’s Day recipe?

 

[caption id="attachment_1402" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread[/caption]

 

The pictures of this bread do not do it justice.  It is unbelievably moist, and the Rosemary gives it a rich savory taste.  This is a bread that can be eaten on its own without toppings or spreads.  It also makes a great accompaniment to soup.

 

[caption id="attachment_1417" align="alignnone" width="640"]Slices of Vegan Rosemary Avocado Quick Bread Slices of Vegan Rosemary Avocado Quick Bread[/caption]

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Rosemary Avocado Quick Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup cane sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup vegan buttermilk (mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 cup almond milk)
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 vegan egg replacer (made with Ener-G, chia seeds, or flax)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line loaf pan with parchment paper
  2. Make buttermilk in separate bowl and set aside
  3. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in bowl
  4. Pulse avocado in food processor or mash with fork
  5. Add avocado, buttermilk, and vegan egg to dry ingredients and mix well
  6. Pour batter into loaf pan
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes
  8. Allow to cool, before serving. Store in airtight container.

 

Raw Vegan Granola: Part Two (of Two)

 

Raw Vegan Granola
Raw Vegan Granola

 

It’s time for my long promised second vegan granola recipe (Don’t miss out on Part 1!)  Today’s recipe (inspired by Alissa Cohen’s granola in Raw Food for Everyone) is a less traditional granola, because it is not only vegan but also raw.  For more information on raw foods and their health benefits, check out my post on the Go Raw L.I.F.E. Center.

The base of the raw vegan granola is sprouted buckwheat.  I sprout foods whenever I can, because sprouting helps to unlock additional nutrition from seeds (yes, buckwheat is a seed!).  Soaking and rinsing seeds removes enzyme inhibitors, and the seeds begin to germinate.  As the seed prepares to become a tree or plant, its nutrient content multiplies.  Eating foods that are sprouted gives us access to these additional nutrients.  Click on the link below for more information on sprouting and its benefits:

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/beverage1/a/about-sprouting.htm

 

Sprouting Basics:

 

If you have not sprouted before, don’t be intimidated.  Sprouting really only involves 2 steps (1) soaking and (2) rinsing.

 

STEP 1:

Measure out the buckwheat and submerge it in water.   Soak the buckwheat overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours.

 

[caption id="attachment_1942" align="alignnone" width="640"]Buckwheat Soaking Buckwheat Soaking[/caption]

 

STEP 2:

Move the buckwheat to a strainer and cover the strainer with a cloth.  Rinse the buckwheat twice a day until it sprouts. You will know when sprouting occurs, because small tails begin to grow from the seeds (see below!).

 

[caption id="attachment_1318" align="alignnone" width="640"]Sprouted Buckwheat Sprouted Buckwheat[/caption]

 

If you want to make the sprouting process easier, special sprouting cups are available.  They help streamline the sprouting process and free up counter space!  I personally like the Easy Sprout Sprouter.

 

 

Once my buckwheat has sprouted, I spread it out on a tray and dehydrate it for 8 hours.  Sprouted buckwheat stores well in a sealed airtight container.  I always make extra, so I don’t have to wait before I can make a recipe.

 

[caption id="attachment_1319" align="alignnone" width="640"]Sprouted Buckwheat on Tray Sprouted Buckwheat on Tray[/caption]

 

Now it’s time to assemble the raw vegan granola’s other ingredients.

 

[caption id="attachment_1320" align="alignnone" width="640"]Granola Ingredients Granola Ingredients[/caption]

 

Measure them out and throw them in a bowl.

 

[caption id="attachment_1321" align="alignnone" width="536"]Dry Granola Ingredients in Bowl Dry Granola Ingredients in Bowl[/caption]

 

The wet ingredients go into the food processor.

 

[caption id="attachment_1322" align="alignnone" width="640"]Wet Granola Ingredients in Food Processor Wet Granola Ingredients in Food Processor[/caption]

 

Pulse until completely smooth.

 

[caption id="attachment_1323" align="alignnone" width="640"]Wet Granola Ingredients Creamed Wet Granola Ingredients Creamed[/caption]

 

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and you are almost done!

 

[caption id="attachment_1324" align="alignnone" width="640"]Granola Mixed Together Granola Mixed Together[/caption]

 

Place the granola on a dehydrator tray.

 

[caption id="attachment_1325" align="alignnone" width="640"]Granola on Dehydrator Tray Granola on Dehydrator Tray[/caption]

 

And after 12 hours in the dehydrator, you will have some lovely looking and tasting raw vegan granola.

 

[caption id="attachment_1326" align="alignnone" width="640"]Granola Cluster Granola Cluster[/caption]

 

I like to eat mine with coconut milk or mix some into my oatmeal in the mornings.

 

[caption id="attachment_1351" align="alignnone" width="640"]Granola and Milk Granola and Milk[/caption]

 

Sprouted Buckwheat
 
Ingredients
  • 1.25 cups buckwheat
Instructions
  1. Soak buckwheat in water overnight
  2. Place buckwheat in strainer and rinse. Cover strainer with paper towel
  3. Rinse buckwheat 2 times a day until buckwheat sprouts
  4. Place buckwheat on dehydrator tray and allow to dehydrate for 8 hours at 115 degrees
  5. Store in airtight container

 

 

Vegan Granola: Part Two (of Two)
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup agave
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • ⅛ teaspoon (ie a pinch!) of salt
  • 2 cups raw oats
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup dried coconut
  • ½ cup dried fruit
  • 1.25 cups sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat (see above for instructions)
Instructions
  1. Place agave, dates, salt, and vanilla bean into the food processor and pulse until mixture is creamy and smooth.
  2. Combine the wet mixture and the oats, pecans, coconut, dried fruit, and sprouted buckwheat in a bowl.
  3. Spread mixture onto dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for 12 hours
  4. Break granola into pieces and store in airtight container.