Sunday, December 19, 2010

UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet

An interesting article I randomly found......"A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said today." click here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Alo Awaken and Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Two (vegan) products that I've happily discovered.

Alo Awaken: A mix of water, aloe vera juice and pulp, wheat grass and NATURAL sugar....Ever since I discovered aloe juices I've been a huge fan of the taste and aloe vera pulp. However, most products have too many artificial ingredients and unnatural versions of sugar sources (inverted sugar, high fructose corn syrup etc). I love wheatgrass shots but often am too cheap to order them at shops or buy a juicer. The two together equal my new favorite non-tea drink. And yay for a real sugar ingredient i.e. cane sugar. So far I've only seen this brand at Whole Foods, $5 for 51 oz. (* * * * *)

Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, is a vegan and less sugary version of Nutella. Having not purchased Nutella since college I didn't realize there is milk in it. However, Justin's version is mostly organic with ingredients like real sugar :) cocoa and palm fruit oil. One serving of Nutella has 21g of sugar while Justin's has 7g. And if you're wondering, Justin's variety IS still just as good (* * * * *). It's semi-expensive $10 for 16 oz although I purchased a jar on sale for $8 at whole foods yesterday.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

2011 Marathon??

I have secretly wanted to complete a marathon ever since I knew what they were. However in the last 6+ years I've been afraid my bad knees would suffer and training for one would do permanent damage. So I settled for running half marathons (13.1 miles of sane fun) and 10-mile races.

Then I read "Born to Run" and discovered the art of forefoot running (read about my findings here). And I've noticed that my knee pain is almost non-existent. I still can't run for longer than 3-4 miles in my vibrams but it's helped me none the less. So now I'm inspired!

I want to do a less sane race, I want to run until I feel I can't run any longer and then run some more. I want to test myself....I want to run a marathon.

2011? My preference would be to run the NYC marathon since I live there. But it's so hard to get into. I've applied for the lottery and will find out in the spring. I was thinking about doing NYRR's 9+1 program but that would mean delaying the marathon until 2012. Now I'm looking into doing the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon in Albany, NY. Anyone ever run this one? ~~Update: I am going to run the Steamtown Marathon in PA~~

  • Any good training programs, inspiring running books/quotes?
  • Recommendations for a NYC marathon substitution? I would prefer the cheapest option (i.e. I won't be paying for a flight + hotel to do the Las Vegas marathon for example)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Labels and other ramblings

Last week a friend compared vegans to Hezbollah. His joke was about how militant and extreme vegans are. I defended vegans at the time. Though the joking comparison is still too harsh, recent comments instantly reminded me of it.....let me explain...

When I first started this blog (in Feb 2010) it was to talk about my journey as a vegan. The more and more information I read, the more I was motivated to cut remaining animals products from my life. I would say over the past 9 months I’ve been 99% vegan. Mainly a trip to the UK where I had to eat catered food at a business trip caused me to eat non-vegan items.

It was surprising to me that the blog entry that received the most feedback is one where I discussed eating fish last month. Even more surprising is the overwhelming feedback that I can no longer call myself a vegan because of one month out of 9. I guess this is a demonstration of the extreme militant characteristics my friend was talking about. It made me think of all other words/identity/label that people all over the world wouldn’t be able to use if the same thing applied…..What about someone from a certain religion who generally believes but has one month of doubt? Who decides if that person can or cannot call themselves Christian/Buddhist/Muslim/Jew/Baha'i etc?....I'm a Baha'i. Baha'i law says not to drink alcohol. However, if I ever found out a Baha'i friend was drinking I would never tell that person they can't call themselves a Baha'i.

I understand that vegans/vegetarians do not eat fish. I understand the arguments against the eating/killing of fish. What I do not understand is the intense response about me and my struggle as a vegan. If you do not want me to call myself vegan because 1 out of 9 months I ate fish, don’t call me a vegan. However, I can call myself whatever I choose. If you disagree, don’t read my blog. If you do want to read my thoughts on vegan foods, running and trying to lead a pure life then by all means continue to read.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Moroccan-Inspired Lentil Soup (in slow cooker)

Another good recipe from Vegan on the Cheap. I was looking for something new and different....this Moroccan-Inspired Lentil Soup with interesting ingredients like dried fruits and apple juice did the trick. Chalk full of spices....cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, turmeric it sure it tasty.

It took me 45 min to prepare for the slow cooker. Then I woke up the next morning to a great lunch item for work.

1 tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 med carrots, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1.5 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp coriander
0.5 tsp cinnamon
0.25 cayenne
0.25 turmeric
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup brown lentils
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup apple juice
0.5 cup mixed dried fruit, chopped (I used mango and apricots)
salt and black pepper
2 tbs minced fresh parsley
1 tbs fresh lemon juice

1. Pour oil in 4-quart slow cooker
2. Add onion, carrots, bell pepper, garlic and ginger. Add cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne and turmeric, then stir in tomatoes and their juice and lentils.
3. Pour in veggie stick and apple juice, add dried fruit. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place lid on slow cooker and turn heat to low. Cook until lentils and veggies are tender, about 8 hours. When ready to serve, stir in parsley and lemon juice.

Fish eating vegan nonsense (and oven-roasted chestnuts)

I've been a terrible vegan this November. A week in London for a trip business led to eating lots of diary and seafood products. It's like the Brits have not fully embraced tofu. At least their animals are treated slightly better and they have higher food standards. My vegan self could not handle the porridge made whole milk. It made me realize how much I actually prefer the taste of soy milk. I was so happy to discover Pod Food.

Now back stateside I've become more of a pesce-vegan. I think I opened a flood gate with all the fish eating in the UK. Hmmm. Fish was always a tough thing for me to give up. I've been a vegetarian for 14 years now. During that time I've alternated between eating fish and abstaining. I think part of the problem is I don't feel bad about killing fish. I've been fishing before and gutted my own catch. However, I'd never want to kill a goat, sheep, cow etc. Plus there are some health benefits to fish (Omega fatty acids and all that jazz). Hmmmm.

While I ponder what to do with my fish eating vegan self. You can roast some chestnuts in the oven. Chestnuts are awesome and so appropriate this winter season. They can be quite filling.... "Chestnuts have twice as much starch as the potato. They are the only "nuts" that contain vitamin C, with about 40 mg per 100 g of raw product, which is about 65% of the U.S. recommended daily intake. The amount of vitamin C decreases by about 40% after heating."

How to Roast Chestnuts in the Oven:
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Clean off chestnuts.
  • Use a sharp paring knife to cut an X into one side of each chestnut, or prick chestnuts with a fork to allow steam to escape. (Or you might have some exploding chestnuts)
  • Arrange chestnuts on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan, with the cut or pricked sides up.
  • Roast in oven for 15 to 25 minutes, or until chestnuts are tender and easy to peel.
  • Peel the nuts when they are cool enough to handle, and enjoy
To read my thoughts on all the comments below click here.
Everyone smile and have a great day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kale Spinach Mango smoothie

I've often come across recipes for smoothies with kale/spinach but I assumed they'd taste terrible. However, after reading Nima's blog entry I felt compelled to try it....Nima, a 20 something with leukemia (A.L.L) wrote "Its my birthday and the best gift you can give me is to dedicate one day a week to doing something healthy for having my smoothie ;)" So really, it was the best time ever to try it out. Plus I love kale.

Turns out it tastes pretty good, basically a purer version of Odwalla's Superfood. Next time I'm going to try it with juice (instead of water)

1 whole mango (I used frozen mango)
2 bunches of spinach
3 leaves of kale
4 ice cubes
1 cup water/juice
honey to taste

blend and drink....mmmm kale :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Road ID - wearing my ID while I run

In April, I switched from an after work runner to a pre-work runner. This means I’m often running while the sun is rising and it’s still relatively dark (see the picture I took before last week's run). Whenever I mention running under the morning stars to people their first concern is safety. Luckily Prospect Park is always full of avid runners regardless of the rain or dark. So I feel somewhat safe in numbers. However, I never carry ID with me. And I should in case there is an accident etc. So when I saw Road ID’s advertisement in Runner’s World magazine I went to their website and ordered one. (This is really rare for me. I previously worked in advertisement for a quick and painful 6 months so I tend to avoid ads.)

I ordered the classic wrist ID for $19.99 plus shipping. You can customize 6 lines of text to engrave on the surgical stainless steel ID tag. I included
  1. my name
  2. my city/state
  3. (Husband’s name), phone number, Husband
  4. (Mom’s name), phone number, Mom
  5. (Father’s name), phone number, Father
  6. Mungu ni Adhimu (A shortened Baha’i prayer “God is Sufficient/Significant" in Swahili)

I’m listing Road ID’s top ten reasons why their product is useful to summarize………
1. If you can’t speak for yourself, Road ID will speak for you.
2. Road ID enables First Responders to immediately contact family members and friends.
3. Road ID enables family members to provide additional details about your health or give consent for potentially life saving procedures.
4. Road ID enables hospital staff to locate vital medical records.
5. Road ID can communicate medical conditions or allergy information to medical staff.
6. Road ID can prevent serious delays in treatment by saving crucial time during the “golden hour” of medical treatment.
7. It’s far better to have Road ID and not need it than to need Road ID and not have it. It’s not just a piece of gear, it’s peace of mind.
8. Accidents happen far more than you think they do. Each year approximately 450,000 of us are taken to hospitals unconscious and without identification.
9. Road ID looks good on and makes a statement about your athletic lifestyle – not to mention that studies would probably prove that people that wear Road ID are considerably smarter than those that don’t.
10. Road ID can save your Life. Period.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Linguine with Lentils and Roasted Butternut Squash

I tried out another recipe from Vegan on the Cheap, Linguine with Lentils and Roasted Butternut Squash. It tastes pretty good not sure both the lentils and squash are necessary and might only do one to reduce this time intensive recipe. But try it yourself and decide :)

1/2 cup brown or green lentils
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, halved and seeded
salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons crumbled dried sage
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, not drained
1 cup vegetable stock
12 ounces linguine

1. Boil lentils in salted water, reduce heat to low and simmer until tender (45 mins). Drain and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 400*F. Put diced squash with olive oil drizzled over and salt/pepper to taste. Roast until tender (30 mins). Set aside.

3. Saute onion in a skillet for 5 min, add garlic cook 30 seconds. Stir in sage, tomatoes and cooked lentils. Stir in stock and season with salt/pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 mins. (For a creamier sauce use an immersion blender to blend a portion of lentil mixture). Stir in roasted squash. Then set mixture aside.
4. Boil pasta in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and add to lentil-squash mixture.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Vegan Cupcakes

Another winner from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I was doubtful at first that pumpkin cupcakes would taste like cupcakes and not a muffin. Then the chocolate pumpkin mix made me wary. I should just assume VCTOW knows what they are doing, they normally do.

The cupcakes came out great! Moist and sweet. In fact I think I'll eat most of mine without much icing (although the cinnamon icing is a nice touch). Plus pumpkin cupcakes are so perfect for this fall season. I even made a non-chocolate version for my dog (don't worry just a small piece, I won't over sugar my best friend)

If you love cupcakes seriously think about checking out VCTOW cookbook.....Trick or Treat :)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing
1 cup canned pumpkin
1⁄3 cup oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Cinnamon Icing (recipe below)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin, oil, sugar, soy milk, and vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt. Stir together with a fork— don’t use a handheld mixer, as it will make the batter gummy. Once well combined, fold in the chocolate chips.
3. Fill liners two-thirds full. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let fully cool before icing.
1. Take a small plastic sandwich bag and cut out a tiny hole in one edge or fit a pastry bag with a small holed decorating tip. Fill the bag with icing and pipe it out Jackson Pollack-style onto the cupcakes. You may also opt to pipe it in zigzags, lines, or swirls. Let the icing set at room temperature or refrigerated.
Cinnamon Icing
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
1 tablespoon soy milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the margarine, soy milk, and vanilla and stir with a fork until smooth. Keep at room temperature until ready to use. The mixture should look opaque and honey brown. If it’s glistening a lot or looks too liquid, add a little extra confectioners’ sugar.
Makes 12 cupcakes

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Busu, our whippet/jack russell terrier beauty

My husband and I have been looking for a dog for about 2 weeks. I would search the websites of all the nearby shelters for a suitable pick and take notes. Last week I found an adorable whippet mix at the Brooklyn Animal Care & Control. After trekking on the train to a remote area of Brooklyn we found out someone had already claimed the dog. I then got it in my head to search for any whippet mix in NYC area. 3 days later I found a whippet mix at Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn. We walked 50 minutes to the shelter sort of thinking it wouldn't work out. We get there and ask to see the Whippet/Jack Russell terrier mix. The man brings her out and it's love at first sight.

She's the sweetest dog ever, she immediately runs up to us and starts kissing us and jumping to get our attention. We take her for a walk to test run her and it's like she's known us for months. One mother and child stop us to comment on how beautiful she is. She then starts playing and showing affection with the woman's kid. So cute. The shelter thinks she's about 1 year old. She already knows the command sit and is housebroken....we're convinced...we fill out the paperwork. We decide to name her Busu, which means kiss in Swahili. The owner calls 3 of our references and 45 minutes later Busu is ours :)

If anyone in the NYC area is looking for a dog I highly recommend Sean Casey Animal Rescue. The staff know all the dogs by name and can explain their personalities in detail. Plus they have a "behavior specialist" on staff to help with any animal behavior stuff. The adoption fee covers 1 vet visit and pet insurance for the first 30 days, plus they neuter the dog and put a microchip in them.

(Pictures: Busu's first bath, drying post bath, eating food)


Since I still have tons of apples from apple picking last week and I already made an apple pie, I decided to make applesauce this time.

8 apples
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown/turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Cut apples into pieces. Bring water and apple to boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Add rest of ingredients and boil for 1 to 3 minutes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vegan Apple Pie! A delicious way to use all those apples I got while apple picking

My apple pies are famous among close friends. I would make them anywhere I went from Tanzania to NY. So after I went apple picking last weekend I searched the web for a decent vegan apple pie recipe. Most recipes sucked, either they were trying to be too healthy (agave this, limited sugar that) or they were missing key ingredients like flour to make the sauce thick. So I just made up my own adapting 2 vegan recipes and 1 non-vegan one......and tada excellent apple pie! I give myself 5 stars ;)

Vegan apple pie
frozen vegan crust (2: top and bottom)
4-5 apples
2/3 cup turbinado/brown sugar
1.5 teaspoon of cinnamon
0.5 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/3 cup of vegan butter
1/4 cup of flour

Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 425*F, peel and cut the apples, add sugar, spices and melted/soft vegan butter. Stir. Add flour. Stir. Put in pie crust. Use other pie crust to cover the apples. Pinch the edges together using a fork. Cover the pie with aluminum foil and cook for 25 mins. Then uncover and cook for another 25 mins.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's offically Fall let the Acorn Squash fest begin

My lovely husband introduced this recipe to me last fall and I fell in love. So easy to make, you just need patience while it cooks in the oven for 45-60 minutes. The maple syrup/vegan butter mix adds just the right amount of sweetness.

One good thing about colder weather is more baking :)

Baked Acorn Squash Recipe
1 Acorn Squash
2 tsp vegan butter
4 tsp maple syrup

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 375*F. Slice acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds and stringy bits (save seeds for toasting). Put 1 tsp vegan butter and 2 tsp maple syrup in each half. Put in an oven safe dish and cook for 45-60 mins or until soft/tender.

For roasted seeds: wash seeds, dry, add salt and spread on foil. Put the seeds in the oven and cook until desired texture.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A vegan birthday: Waffles and Candle Cafe

My birthday was this week. And I celebrated in a truly vegan fashion :)

Starting with vegan waffles for breakfast that my husband made me (recipe here).

Then dinner at the famous Candle Cafe (same
owners as Candle 79 - more expensive version) with my mommie dearest and husband.

I had the vegan lasagna, which I didn't like as much as I loved the V-spot's. I think it's because V-spot used a better substitute for the meat and less "cheese" for the ricotta part. At Candle cafe they used tofu and lots of "ricotta cheese"

My mom got their famous Paradise Casserole, consisting of layers of sweet potato, black beans and millet over steamed greens with country gravy. She loved it (and she's not vegan).

My husband ordered spinach linguine with cashew cream sauce. He said it was a little bland but good.

I had such expectations for their dessert since I am in love with the vegan cheesecake they sell to whole foods. However, for some reason they make their restaurant version completely different and it tastes bad. Well bad meaning to me it wasn't worth the calories so I had my husband finish it. The version they sell at whole foods is fluffy almost pudding like with no crust. The restaurant version is tougher/firmer and the crust tastes weird. Alas.

Candle Cafe
1307 3rd Ave (at East 75th st)
New York, NY 10021-3301
(212) 472-0970

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The V-spot = excellent vegan lasagna

After Unit Convention a friend and I met my husband at The V-spot, a 100% vegan restaurant in Brooklyn. I didn't take any pictures because I was starving and dove right into my food. Plus, once I tasted their awesome vegan lasagna I wasn't about to pause and take a pic :) Guess all that consultation and voting from the unit convention worked up my appetite.

My friend, who isn't a vegan also got the vegan lasagna and loved it. I always think the best seal of approval for vegan food is when a non-vegan likes it. My husband got the Hawaiian burger, a combo of veggie burger with tempeh bacon, sauteed green peppers and pineapple. He liked his burger but confessed our vegan lasagna tasted better.

Dessert was a 50/50 experience. Their red velvet cupcake sucked hardcore, I didn't even finish eating it. However, their dead by chocolate cake was excellent. All three of us ending up focusing our forks on the cake :)

The V-spot
156 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sunday Supper Frittata - delicious vegan frittata

After eating a vegan frittata at Sacred Chow last week I was inspired to try to cook my own. The process it quite time consuming but the result is well worth it. All the ingridients contribute to the awesome-ness ....the sauted mushrooms and spinach to the turmeric and tofu mix. Mmmm.

My second favorite cookbook is officially Vegan on the Cheap. They are 3 for 3 in turns of great recipes.

Sunday Supper Frittata
1 tbs olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 large potato, peeled, cooked and chopped
Salt and pepper
1 pound tofu, well drained
1 tbs soy milk
2 tbs nutritional yeast
1 tbs cornstarch
0.5 tsp onion powder
0.5 tsp dried basil
0.5 tsp ground fennel seed (optional)
0.25 tsp turmeric (I doubled this since I love turmeric)

1. Preheat oven to 375*F.
2. Saute onion for 10 minutes, then add mushrooms and spinach and cook for ~ 3 min, then add the potato and cook for another 3 min. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Spread cooked vegetables into bottom of greased pan or if using a cast iron skillet you can just put that in the oven.

4. In a blender, combine tofu, soy milk, yeast, cornstarch, onion powder, basil, turmeric and fennel (if using). Add 0.5 tsp salt and 0.25 tsp black pepper and blend until smooth.
5. Spread the tofu over the vegetables. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 mins. Remove foil and cook for 10 min longer. Cut into wedges and serve

Gold Bar Cookies

If it's in the "Sweet delights" section of the cookbook but has oats and looks healthy can I eat it for breakfast? Yes, was the answer I gave myself yesterday. Especially after running 8.5 miles Friday morning.

I really like these cookies/bars. I will definitely be adding these to my list of future baking. Another winner from Vegan on the Cheap.

Gold Bar cookies
1.75 cup quick-cooking oats
1 c flour
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
0.5 cup vegan margarine, softened
0.25 cup creamy peanut butter (I used almond butter instead of peanut butter because that's all I had)
1 (8-ounce) jar peach or apricot preserves (I used strawberry)
0.5 cup golden raisins (I hate raisins in desserts, so I omitted)
0.5 cup ground unsalted roasted peanuts (Didn't include either)

1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan
2. In a food processor combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Pulse to mix well. Add the margarine and peanut butter and pulse until crumbly.
2. Place about 3 cups of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and press it evenly with your hands to form the cookie base. Reserve the remaining mixture.
4. Place the preserves in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spread over the top of the cookie base to within 1/4 inch of the edge.
5. Add the raisins (if you like raisins in your desserts) and peanuts to the remaining crumb mixture and sprinkle it over the top, pressing it into the fruit.
6. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes before cutting.

Variations: different fruit spreads, omitting all nuts products, adding vegan chocolate or shredded coconut to the topping mixture

Friday, September 24, 2010

Eat Well to Be Well

I am a strong believer in not only 'you are what you eat' but also 'your health = your diet'. So it made me happy to read this article about a doctor who agrees and is working towards providing his patients with a better diet etc. --> NY Times article Doctor's Orders
"The kitchen must become as crucial as the clinic. Food is at the center of health and illness and so doctors must make all aspects of it — growing, buying, cooking, eating — a mainstay of their medical educations, their personal lives and their practices."
~ Dr. Maring
  • Dr. Maring started a weekly farmers’ market in 2003 just outside the front door at the Kaiser Permanente medical center.
  • Dr. Maring has worked to obtain fresh local food for hospital trays and in cafeterias.
  • Dr. Maring’s son, Ben, 30, a fourth-year medical student at New York University School of Medicine, is working to improve the food doctors and med school students eat. Ben has developed a series of cooking classes that incorporate aspects of nutrition and clinical medicine. He named his scheme CHEF — for Cook Healthy, Eat Fresh.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

French Lentil Chili

Look! I do cook things other than dessert ;)

So far I really like this new cookbook I purchased called Vegan on the Cheap. Especially since I was tired of all those cookbooks with exotic ingredients with expensive price tags.

This "chili" is a great spicy new way to cook lentils. We were getting bored of the go-to curry lentil variety. Plus I've never tried french lentils before, I like them. They have a better texture for chili since they don't get mushy.

French Lentil Chili

1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 celery rib, minced
3 garlic cloves
1.5 cups French lentils
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 tbs chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
0.5 tsp sugar (though, next time I make it I won't be including this)
0.25 tsp black pepper
3 cups water
1 tbs sherry vinegar (optional - I didn't use any either)

~ In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook until softened, about 7 mins
~ Add the lentils, tomatoes, chili powder, salt, cumin, thyme, sugar, pepper and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low
~ Cover and simmer until lentils are soft, about 50 minutes, adding more water if needed. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, if using. Serve hot

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lychee vegan cupcakes with coconut glaze!

Oh my goodness we agree! ....As I've posted before, normally my husband prefers the least sweet cupcakes with some spice and I prefer the intensely sweet variety. After I made this lychee cupcakes though we both agreed these were our new favorites or at least top 3 :). Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, has another winner.

For me it was love at first batter taste. As I scraped the excess batter from the bowl, it was pure happiness. An extra bonus of vegan cupcakes is you can eat the raw batter all you like with no fear of getting sick, no eggs!

After tasting them post bake it was even better. The lychee flavor really comes out in the cupcakes. You can't taste the flax seeds at all, which is good. Plus I can convince myself the cupcakes are healthy because they have flaxseeds ie Omega fatty acid goodness in them. The coconut glaze works great as well, just the right amount of sweetness. * * * * * (out of 5)!

Lychee Cupcakes (makes 12 cupcakes)

2 cups unbleached flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar
5 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 can (4 ounces) lychee fruit, drained and chopped, syrup reserved
1/4 - 1/3 cup lychee syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
3. In a separate medium bowl, beat ground flaxseeds and 6 tablespoons water with a fork until gelatinous. Add oil, coconut milk, chopped lychees, and lychee syrup to the flaxseeds and mix to combine.
4. Add wet mixture to the dry ingredients, mix to combine. Fill cupcake liners full.
5. Bake 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Coconut glaze:
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk
directions for glaze:
Mix powdered sugar and coconut milk until smooth. Drizzle over completely cooled cupcakes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sacred Chow - vegan brunch

I love brunch. And this love didn't stop once I became a vegan. Usually my husband and I make our own vegan waffles or pancakes for the weekends. However, in celebration of our 2 month-versary we had brunch at Sacred Chow, a vegan bistro that gets extra points for a kick-ass logo :)

I had the Italian Frittata (with turmeric, mmm) and steamed collard greens. I give it * * * * (out of 5 stars). It was my first vegan frittata experience and I enjoyed it :)

My husband got the Tempeh Hash with fruit. I didn't like it but he did. But I also tend to dislike tempeh in general.

Sacred Chow
227 Sullivan Street, NYC 10012 (b/w W3 & Bleecker)
Open 11 AM - 10 PM Sun-Th, 11 AM - 11 PM F & Sat

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Banana Blueberry Vegan Icecream

When I first read on my friend's facebook page that you could make icecream from one ingredient I doubted it, but at the same time I was curious. The recipe called for freezing sliced bananas then blending them in a food processor until smooth like soft serve icecream. Sounds too easy and simple. Yet it works :)

I decided to add in some blueberries and maple syrup because the bananas I used were not sweet/ripe. The day of, when it was still the texture of soft serve icecream there was a little bit of an after taste. However, for some reason after being in the freezer for 12+ hours the aftertaste went away. Leaving awesome homemade banana blueberry icecream :)

4 bananas, sliced and then frozen
1 cup or so of frozen blueberries
maple syrup (to taste)

Blend bananas and blueberries in food processor. It will take a long time to get a smooth texture, be patient. Last add as much or as little maple syrup as you want. Blend again.

You can eat it immediately (see picture below) or freeze for a firmer icecream texture (see above picture).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pineapple Right-Side-Up Vegan Cupcakes

There is an ongoing joke (full of truth) between my husband and I that if you took my list of my favorite vegan cupcakes in order and reversed it you would have his list in the correct order. He tends to prefer less sweet and more spicy cupcakes like the vegan chai latte cupcakes I frequently make. Whereas I prefer really sweet cupcakes with heavy frosting.

I tried out another recipe from the cookbook: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World..... Pineapple Right Side Up vegan cupcakes (click here for the recipe). The recipe is cool, the only liquid comes from pineapple juice and oil. The "frosting" is more pineapples and juice boiled with sugar and arrowroot powder. You serve these cupcakes chilled.

True to form, I didn't care for them much. However my husband said they might be his new favorite...... ::laughs:: I recommend trying them if you like cupcakes with a fruit essence. Or even just for experiment's sake.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

simple recipes needed

I now have quite a vegan recipe book collection. Every week I flip through the thousands of pages with fancy words and uncommon/expensive ingredients....leading me to own a bag of arrowroot only to use 2 tablespoons once or causing me to Google tons of ingredients because I have no idea what they are. Outside of desserts, I think I have only tried 10 recipes out of the 2,000+ included in my books. And I have not repeated any non-dessert items.

I need some simple, quick and cheap vegan recipes. Nothing too fancy, just something I can incorporate into my weekly lunch and dinner menus. If you have any recommended vegan recipes that fit the criteria let me know.....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Portuguese Spicy Kale Soup

As a true kale lover I've been looking for more ways to cook this perfect vegetable. So tried this recipe in my new cookbook a family friend gave me for my bridal shower. Vegan Fire & Spice. It's pretty good, I think it's missing a spice but I have yet to figure out what that is. But I like the kale potato mix.

Portuguese Spicy Kale Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound kale, trimmed and leaves torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
3 cups cooked or 30 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot, cover, and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, potatoes, salt, and enough water to cover by 1-inch. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the kale and hot red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 minutes longer. Add the kidney beans and simmer 10 minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings before serving.

Serves 6.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Candle Cake's vegan vanilla cheesecake

It's always are good sign when I'm eating something vegan that's so delicious I have to re-read the ingredients list 5 times staring in disbelief that it is, in fact, vegan.

As I finished off my lunch at work today with a small cup of Candle Cafe's vegan vanilla cheesecake I did just that. Even though my mind knew that Candle Cafe was a vegan restaurant... even though it says vegan on the cover... I still had to re-check a few times while eating.With each delicious bite of perfect creamy texture and slight vanilla bean taste my brain grew confused. But it is truly vegan.

Oh joy of joys :) I love dessert. And like all great vegan desserts this cheesecake doesn't leave an uncomfortable heavy feeling in my stomach like its milk/egg filled counterpart.

Thank you Whole Foods for stocking your dessert section with these treats from Candle Cafe. I look forward to visiting the actual restaurant location at 1307 3rd Avenue (between 74th & 75th St.) New York, NY 10021.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Crystallized sugar covered pecans tart (Vegan Pecan Pie)

Sure the picture of my pie looks like pecan pie perfection. And yes what I cooked tastes hella good and extra sweet. However, my vegan pecan pie shouldn't really be called pecan's more like crystallized sugar covered pecan tart. Granted it's probably be my fault, after purchasing arrowroot and some other more expensive items, I got cheap and tried to substitute sugar for maple syrup. The result is a soupy pie that tasted like sugar covered pecans. But at least it tastes great.... Maybe I just invented another sort of dessert ;)

The real recipe:
1 pre-baked pie crust
2 1/2 to 3 cups of lightly roasted pecans all chopped up (more or less depending on how you like the consistency)
1/3 to almost a 1/2 cup of rice syrup
3/4 to 1 cup of Maple syrup (more less depending on the amount of pecans)
1 tbsp to 1 1/2 tbsp of alcohol free vanilla extract (just prefer the flavor)
Grated ginger to taste 1 tbsp to 2 tbsp (I didn't add this)
salt couple of pinches or so
1 1/2 to not quite 2 tsp of Arrowroot
3 to 3 1/2 tbsp of flax seeds ground up as best you can
1/3 to 1/2 cup of soy milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the syrups, salt, extract, and ginger into a sauce pan and simmer for about five minutes. put on the counter and let it cool to room temp. mix the soy milk with the flax and arrowroot and then blend that mixture with the syrups in a blender or food processor. put those pecans into a big mixing bowl and mix it up with the liquid. pour the filling into the pie crust and put into the preheated oven. bake for about 30 to 45 minutes the filling should be thick and not very gelatinous. give it a little shake. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thai Spring Rolls by Health is Wealth

If you haven't tried out anything from Health is Wealth, please proceed to your nearest Whole Foods (or other supermarket) and try out something vegan and delicious.

I was already a fan of their Chicken Free Nuggets. And now after eating 8 spring rolls for lunch today (yes I ate the whole box in one sitting, but I ran 5 miles this morning so I earned it ;) I am head over heels for their Thai Spring Rolls as well.

Happy Eating!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I have a new nutritional drink of choice.....Iskiate, basically chia seeds and limonade/lemonade. Remember chia pets? Same seeds but without growing grass hair on figurines. The idea came from reading Born To Run just like my new interest in barefoot running.

"For centuries this tiny little seed was used as a staple food by the Indians of the south west and Mexico. Known as the running food, its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as the ancient Aztecs. It was said the Aztec warriors subsisted on the Chia seed during the conquests. The Indians of the south west would eat as little as a teaspoon full when going on a 24hr. forced march. Indians running form the Colorado River to the California coast to trade turquoise for seashells would only bring the Chia seed for their nourishment."

Turns out chia seeds are like super powered flax seeds. They have slightly less Omega-3 and Omega-6 than flax seeds but the fatty acids are much easier for your body to absorb in chia seeds, no chewing necessary (Click here for a nutritional break down). They also are a good source of calcium and protein and antioxidants... ooo la la.

FYI, Chia seeds will absorb 9 times it’s weight in water in less than 10 minutes creating a kind of jelly/slimey substance. All in all I give it * * * * * stars, I think I found my morning drink of choice.

Iskiate (serving size - 1 glass)
8 oz of water
2.0-2.5 teaspoons of Chia Seeds
1 lime to squeeze
2 teaspoons of sugar
Mix water, sugar, and juice from the lime until dissolved. Add Chia Seeds and shake or stir. Serve it chilled.