Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stogo vegan ice-cream

I can't believe it's vegan! Seriously though, Stogo's ice-cream is great, * * * * * (out of 5). Plus their vegan ice-cream has half the calories and fat of milk based ice-cream.

My friend, who's a meat eating foodie, recommended them. You know a vegan place is good when non-vegans love it. So after eating a delicious slice of vegan pizza we walked 2 minutes to Stogo. My fiancee and I split a 3-scoop cup for $7.50 (yes, it's expensive alas)

Layers top to bottom:
  • Key Lime Pie -> I didn't like it, but my fiancee did
  • Strawberry ->I'm in love, with real pieces of strawberry mixed in, it's gourmet ice-cream at its best
  • Chocolate, made with coconut milk -> The coconut milk makes it really creamy, mmm
We also test tried some others:
  • Mexican spiced chocolate -> Really spicy, we were not fans
  • Chocolate, made with hemp -> The hemp makes it dry, the opposite of creamy. However the flavor is great like a bar of dark chocolate.
Stogo, Gourmet Organic Dairy-Free Ice cream
159 2nd Avenue @ 10th Street, NYC 10003

Viva Herbal Pizzeria

I love being a vegan in NYC. Yesterday my fiancee and I went to 'Viva Herbal Pizzeria' in the lower east side. It was lovely another * * * * * (out of 5).

I had vegan meatball on whole wheat crust slice. The tomato sauce and sautéed onions tasted so good and the meatballs had a pleasant smokey flavor. I actually prefer vegan pizza -> I often took off most of the cheese for non-vegan pizza thinking it too fattening, plus after eating non-vegan pizza I would feel heavy and tired.

My fiancee tried the vegetarian options. He had the Picante (soy sausage, red peppers and mozzarella cheese on whole wheat crust) and the Vegetale (Grilled veggies, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese).

Viva Herbal Pizzeria
179 2nd Ave (between 11th and 12th), NYC 10003

Friday, March 26, 2010

vegan scones

The lovely creators of 'Vegan cupcakes take over the world' also have a cookbook called 'Vegan with a Vengeance' which I happily own. I tried out their vegan scone recipe. I didn't have soy cream, so I substituted with soy milk like they suggested.

I give it * * * * * (out of 5). They taste so good still warm with raspberry fruit spread. I can't wait to try the suggested variations like fresh berry scones or chocolate chip scones. Mmmm.

I heart vegan baked goods.

Recipe (makes 16 scones):
3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tbs baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar (plus extra to sprinkle on the top), 1/4 tsp salt, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup soy cream (or use rice/soy milk), 3/4 cup rice/soy milk plus 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat over 400*F, grease cookie sheet
  2. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt
  3. Add oil, soy cream and rice milk
  4. Mix until just combined, the dough should be clumpy
  5. drop 1/4 cupfuls onto greased cookie sheet and pat the tops a little to round out
  6. Sprinkle sugar on top
  7. Bake 12 - 15 minutes or until slightly browned on the bottom and firm on the top

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WholeSoy & Co -> The Best Vegan yogurt

I've been searching for weeks now, trying to find a good vegan yogurt. My friend suggested WholeSoy & Co. and thank goodness she did. Their yogurt is the BEST, * * * * * (out of 5). The texture and taste are perfect. I tried both their strawberry and their vanilla flavors and I'm very happy with them. Mmm.

I no longer have to miss out on yogurt. :)

Next, the quest for vegan ice-cream..........

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Naw-Ruz! Vegan Chai Latte Cupcakes

Happy Naw-Ruz, first day of Spring and the end of my 19-day fast :)

To celebrate I made vegan Chai Latte Cupcakes. Another recipe from the best cupcake book ever, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The texture is more moist than the chocolate cupcakes, almost spongy but in a good way. The spiciness of the cinnamon, cloves and ginger took me awhile to get used to. Plus, I tend to like super sweet things. However my fiancee LOVED them. He also likes the fact that no icing is called for, just sift powdered sugar mixed with cocoa powder. These cupcakes go well with a warm cup of tea or coffee. As a couple we give them * * * * * (out of 5).

Growing Wheat Grass for Naw-Ruz

19 days ago I started growing wheat grass. The goal was to watch the grass grow in anticipation for the first day of spring/Naw-Ruz and to remind myself as I fasted during the day the quote by Baha'u'llah:
"Sow the seeds of My divine wisdom in the pure soil of thy heart, and water them with the water of certitude."

It was relatively easy to grow. I tried two ways: one worked incredibly fast and beautifully, the other was slow and ugly. I haven't eaten/juiced the wheat grass yet. I might just use it for decoration. However, I do love wheat grass shots and the nutritional benefits.

Method 1 (aka the best method): Soak the seeds in water, washing 2-3x daily for about 30 - 48 hours. Spread a thin layer of soil on a round bowl. Pour a thick layer of seeds on top of the soil. Cover them with something so that it stays dark. Water daily. Keep covered until green blades start to shoot up. Then uncover them. Keep watering them. This whole process takes about 14 days.

Method 2 (aka the sucky method): Soak the seeds in water, washing 2-3x daily for about 30 - 48 hours. Put several layers of paper towel in a round bowl. Pour a thick layer of seeds on top of the paper towel. Rinse the seeds daily. After they start growing green blades, water them daily. This whole process takes longer and the grasses are 1/2 the height of method 1.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rice milk and getting in my servings of fruit

I finally tried rice milk yesterday. I think I'll give it * * * (out of 5 stars). The taste is okay, sort of bland. I was expecting it to taste like one of my favorite drinks Horchata, a Hispanic drink made with rice milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. So with those high expectations I was slightly disappointed. However, I could always add some flavor to it. Plus one serving only has 1 gram of protein. Sometimes I worry about consuming too much soy. However, rice milk will definitely not replace my love of vanilla soy milk.

On a side note, I have an obsession with making fruit smoothies. Seriously, I make at least 5 smoothies a week. I think it's the best way to ensure I get enough fruit in my diet. Plus buying frozen fruit at whole foods, adding a banana and some soy/rice milk keeps the cost way down. One bag of organic frozen mangoes for $3 can last me week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is being vegan about more than just food?

So I finally saw "Capitalism: A Love Story" and even though I expected to be outraged at the current economic and social systems in America, even though I expected to finish the movie wanting to go picket the White House and shout my grievances, I was still SHOCKED. Absolutely shocked, just when I think I already have a critical (and sometimes cynical) view, it gets worse. ::shakes my head:: We live in a plutonomy where 1% of the US population controls things and has the same amount of wealth of the other 99% of America. I want a country where the extremely rich class pay higher taxes and those tax dollars are used to provide basic rights of food, shelter, health care and education; not where the tax dollars are used to bail out banks.

I remember asking my friends if they had ever met a vegan one had. Then I think of all the Peace Corps volunteers I know who returned to America and became vegans/vegetarians. It causes me to think diet choices like being a vegan express political and social views as well. The saying "voting with your wallet" comes to mind. Not sure being a vegan can be seen as voting against capitalism but there's definitely a correlation.

The question is what can we do? I am not-so-secretly waiting for a moment/group to form so I can throw my support behind something and protest. I'm also keeping tabs on the new Coffee Party movement to see what it does. In the mean time, I'm looking into the list of actions recommended here. My progressing career path in the non-profit industry puts a smile on my face.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New obsessions -> Avocado sandwiches and Tofurky Italian Sausages

Since I'm Baha'i I've been fasting these past 12 days (7 days left!). Waking up at 5:25 AM and trying to get as much nutritional food and water into my body before the sun rises, means being choosy with what I eat. My current obsessions are open faced avocado sandwiches (with a little bit of salt) and Tofurky's Italian Sausage with sun dried tomatoes and basil. They both get * * * * * stars. Sumptuous!

Avocados provide 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E and B and folic acid. They are high in Omega 3 and 6. Also they are known to promote healthy skin and hair.

Tofurky's sausages have a high protein content with one sausage providing 29 grams. The fat content is on the high side too with 13 grams, but as my fiancee says that's why they taste sooo good. Plus with 15% of my daily requirements for Iron and only 12 grams of carbohydrates it makes it all worth it.

Curry Quinoa Recipe

If you aren't familiar with Quinoa you should be. If your friends aren't familiar with Quinoa you should spread the joy and information. It's a pseudo grain that is 12-18% protein (ie a vegan's friend). It also has a balanced set of essential amino acids and 37% of your daily Iron, see the nutritional stats here. I love the taste and texture of it. Whole food makes awesome burgers with them (unfortunately they have milk bi-products in them).

Curry Quinoa
Ingredients: 1 cup quinoa, 2 tablespoons of curry powder, garlic, onion, any vegetables you want to add (like peas).
  • Rinse the quinoa with water to remove the bitter coating
  • Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil
  • In a saucepan put the quinoa and 1.5 - 2 cups of water
  • Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer
  • Add the curry powder, sauteed onion and garlic as well as the veggies
  • Simmer until the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes)
  • Enjoy the protein packaged grain!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Whole Foods' Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Cake

Whole Foods' Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Cake
* * * * * (*), 5 out of 5 stars plus a bonus star. I've
now made it part of my weekly shopping experience to buy a slice.
It's the kind of cake that I try to savour but I finish
in one setting and I feel such a sadness that it's all eaten.

There's a 85% chance this cake will be our wedding cake come July. Mmmmm

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cheese from breast milk

Since I don't have anything to write about today, I'll share with you the story of a NY chef who makes cheese out of his wife's breast milk. How would you like to try Chef Daniel Angerer's maple caramelized pumpkin seed encrusted cheese with concord grapes??? Hmm. It's probably the best vegan cheese option, no animals were hurt in the process and it's closer to the regular cheese than its other vegan counterparts. ::Laughs::

But seriously, I think breast milk should be kept in the family. Maybe I'll make some breast milk cheese 5-10 years from now for my future children. Or is that TMI (too much information). ::Laughs::

Sunday, March 7, 2010

So Delicious Ice-cream sandwiches and Whole Foods' Vegan Cake

I heart Whole Foods. Seriously, I love them. I don't care what people say about them being over priced. The quality of food there is fabulous. I tried their vegan chocolate chip cookies scones last month and was pleasantly surprised. Now I tried their vegan vanilla cake and liked it so much I'm considering using it for our wedding cake, * * * * * (out of five). The texture and taste were perfection. Mmmm, baked goods.

Also my fiancee purchased So Delicious' vegan ice-cream sandwiches. He bought the coconut one made with real coconut milk. We both give it * * * *. It tastes just like those ice-cream sandwiches you used to eat as a kid but with a coconut twist (and much less fat). I can't wait to try their other ice-cream flavors/varieties.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shiitake and Wood-Ear mushroom and tofu Potstickers

We broke the fast at sundown last night with homemade vegan potstickers/dumplings. I made the dough and my fiancee made the filling. The inspiration came from the mushroom dumplings we had last week at Peacefood Cafe. Though the cafe's dumplings taste better, the ones we made were pretty good too :)

Potsticker Wrappers
Makes about 30-40
~ 3 cups all-purpose flour
~ 7 ounces hot (just off the boil) water
~ 4-5 tablespoons cold water
~ 1/4 teaspoon salt

Start by combining the salt and flour in a large bowl. Stir the just boiled water into the flour with a large fork, until the mixture looks flaky and crumbly. Slowly mix in the cold water until the dough pulls careful though, it shouldn't be sticky. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until smooth. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 30 minutes. After the dough has rested, split it into 4-5 parts. Keep the dough you're not using under a damp cloth until ready to roll out. -Roll out each ball of dough thinly. Cut out anywhere from 3 1/4" to 4" size circles with a cookie-cutter or glass.

Wood-Ear mushrooms finely chopped/blended
Shiitake mushrooms chopped
Broccoli stem heart chopped
Green onions/Chinese chives chopped
Sesame seed oil
2 cloves garlic
some salt and pepper
Soy sauce

Saute the green onions and garlic in sesame seed oil. Add mushrooms and broccoli, cook for 2-5 minutes. Let it cool a bit. Add some soy sauce, mirin, salt and pepper to taste.

Fill the dumplings! Dip you a finger in water and use to outline the dumpling's edge. This will help the dumpling seal as you roll the edges together.

Cook in boiling water until done.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reviews of Gimme Lean Sausage, Silk Live! Soy Yogurt and So Delicious Coconut Yogurt

I'm in search of a good diary-free yogurt. I used to
love yogurt, especially the really thick kind.
Unfortunately vegan yogurts are not filling that gap. Sigh. If you know of a great vegan yogurt let me
know. At least I found an awesome veggie "sausage" that doesn't include milk bi-products.


  • * * * * * (out of five stars)
  • Taste great by itself or dipped in syrup
  • Preparation: Cut slices and cook both sides on a frying pan in some olive oil for 5 min
  • Packaging becomes slightly messy after the
first use

  • * *, so sad. I had such high hopes since Silk
Live!'s very vanilla soy milk and I are best friends.
  • Bad after taste and a weird tang
  • Ruins my fruit smoothies

  • * * *
  • Weird tang but not as bad as Silk Live!'s
  • Soy and diary free
  • Enjoyable coconut taste