Tuesday, March 23, 2010

And so we say goodbye...

Hello faithful reader(s)?

You may wonder where I've been the past month. Hmmm...school, work, running, cooking, sleeping, not cleaning my room, and enjoying some play time here and there. I have also been on quite a health rollercoaster.

A few months ago I began having some health problems- 6 doctors later, no one knew why such odd things were happening to me, like my losing my hair. A 6th doctor finally listened and helped me figure out the issue. We decided that being vegan was exacerbating my health issue and a few weeks ago, I ate meat for the first time in almost a year.
I want to say that I appreciate every person who accepted my choice to go vegan by supporting me, eating what I cooked and not rolling your eyes every time you knew I was on the guest list for dinner. I also want to make it clear that being vegan does not mean you will lose your hair. I did my best and I think I was a damn good vegan, but my body was telling me to knock it off (I need to work on my listening skills.)
If you're vegan, I hope you'll support my decision to not be. And if you aren't vegan, you can celebrate the fact that you can feed me chicken. I will still be cooking lots of vegan food (I just enjoyed my new fav "Afternoon Smoothie" which is vegan!) I just created a new blog, so come join me here.

I went vegan to challenge myself (which I did) and to be even healthier than I became in the past 3 years. I told myself if that goal ever failed that I should return to a non-vegan lifestyle. Don't worry, my new blog promises to have healthy recipes, a few treats and some new surprises.

Happy reading (and eating!)

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I do not know one person who doesn't love Funfetti cake.
Only problem, I refuse to show my love for someone on his or her bday with a boxed cake full of C-R-A-P. So, I made it fron scratch. Totally easy, by the way. Here's what you do- make a white cake and add some oblong sprinkles into the batter. You MUST use the oblong ones- little circle sprinkles won't work. Here's why- the sprinkles need to expand and kind of bleed through the cake- you know what I'm saying.

Enjoy the pics and get baking.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"After a day in Napa" Salad and Creamy Southwestern dressing

Sometimes there is nothing like a good salad.
That's just what I made here. After a day in Napa, with my mom, a couple weeks ago, we decided we were in the mood for a light dinner (Not to mention nothing could top the amazing Venezuelan food we had earlier).
The salad has a Latin/Southwestern feel and you could serve it with crushed tortilla chips, or the delicious Corn Maize cakes we brought back from Napa (those delicious taco/sandwich looking things are from that place.) I decided to make a similar Southwestern style dressing to go with the greens. It's tangy and creamy- a perfect dressing.

"After a day in Napa" Salad and Creamy Southwestern dressing

Serves dinner for 4


8 oz. spring mix greens
1/2 cup thawed frozen corn
1/2 diced red pepper
1/4 diced red onion
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 package pre baked tofu, chopped in bite sized pieces
1 diced tomato

Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl. Not too tough, right?

1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1/2-1 lime (depending on size), squeezed
1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey, depending on how vegan you are)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine all ingredients. Add more sweetener or hot sauce, depending on your palette. Drizzle over salad and serve with chips, tortillas, margaritas, etc., etc.

Friday, February 19, 2010


For girls weekend (!) in SF, a couple weeks ago, I brought some spontaneous muffins. I had no idea they would turn into disappearing muffins. Aka, people liked them and I should have made more.
Well, I did and Kristi should receive them in the mail soon.
You can add whatever you want to these muffins, but keep them simple and keep them sane. What I mean to say is that if you are going to use chocolate chips instead of cranberries, use milk and water, not squeezed oranges and add a little vanilla. I suppose you can use o.j., but you know what I'm saying.

Easy Peasy Orange Cranberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons natural sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
2 squeezed oranges and about 1/2 cup non dairy milk or water (this should all equal 1 cup)
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour muffin pan, or use paper liners.
Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
Beat applesauce and sugar together. Add flax and water and beat. Add juice, milk and/or water and grated zest.
Add flour mixture and stir just until mixed. Fold in cranberries.
Fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Beet"er than red velvet cake

I'm not one to care about the rules and must do's for holidays, but I do find them a great time to send special treats and notes of appreciation to people I love. Ironically, baking is not my favorite thing in the world- it's too precise and in a world where everything must be done a certain way, I really enjoy the freedom of cooking. Nevertheless, it's more difficult to mail stuffed mushrooms or quiche, so baking it is.
For Valentine's Day, I decided to try my hand at red velvet cupcakes. Some things you should know 1. I had no idea what was in a red velvet cupcake. 2. I love cream cheese frosting. 3. The only time I've had red velvet is at this place in Portland, with my dear loves, Maddie and Jena. Ever since then, I was hooked.
This recipe is made with beets. Now don't get all weirded out on me. We, or I, use fruit and veggie replacements for baking all the time. Shall we recall the times I've used applesauce or zucchini? I just learned that there are two containers of food coloring in red velvet cake- sick. The beets do a great job as a replacement, but as with every recipe I read, the red color is strong in the batter and weak in the final product. You can add red food coloring to enhance, but I was trying to stay chemical free and it was 11:30 at night, so I didn't care.
I topped them off with cream cheese frosting from here, but it really turned into more of a glaze, I don't know if that's right or I screwed up. I also made a traditional white frosting for my dear ones who hate cream cheese frosting- they do exist, believe it or not!
One recommendation- the chocolate is pretty strong and when I tasted the straight cupcake and I was a little disheartened at the slightly bitter taste, but when you lather on some frosting, you'll be happy the cake is not super sweet.

Beety Red Velvet Cupcakes- adapted from Coconut and Lime

3/4 cup beet puree (chop 1 bunch of beets into chunks and place in a large pot of boiling water. When soft, place in blender with enough of the water to make a puree- should be the consistency of like a butternut squash soup)
1/2 cup natural sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon plain soy or coconut milk yogurt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 6 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line 12 wells in a cupcake pan. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside. Mix together the applesauce, yogurt, beet puree, vinegar, milk and flax. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Fill 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before icing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I hate to climb up on my soapbox, but it needed dusting, so I thought, "what the heck?"
Have you seen the High Fructose Corn Syrup commercials? They are supported by the Corn Refiners Association (shocking!) and consist of two idiots- one half idiot who asks the major idiot why he is eating something with HFCS who says, ""what's wrong with HFCS? It's made from corn and is the same as sugar." Then the half idiot is like, "omg, you're so smart. Run away with me so we can eat HFCS together forever."
Gag me.

I am not saying I don't have HFCS occasionally- we all get our Oreo cravings, but I don't promote it either. So many companies figure out ways to make foods with HFCS- why can't they all?
So what's he dealio anyway?: First of all, studies find that HFCS contains mercury. Um, awesome. Who doesn't want to eat mercury? I know I do. The sugar industry created HFCS in the 1960's because sugar prices were high and they needed a way to bring more supply to consumers- enter HFCS. It is true that the product is calorically the same as sugar. But, let's remember that 1 chicken breast and mashed potatoes with broccoli has the same amount of calories as a snickers bar (I think you know which one keeps you fuller without a sugar crash.) Since HFCS is relatively new, researchers aren't sure how bad it is, but they are making some links between heart disease, cholesterol and even diabetes and obesity.

Here's the deal- we're all going to take in a little HFCS now and again, but I encourage you to read labels and know what you're eating. Think about it- would you ask the store clerk, "what aisle can I find HFCS? I need it to bake a cake." No, you wouldn't. So why would you buy foods that contain it?

Be smart people, and watch these commercials- they really drive me crazy.
Soapbox is back in the closet now.

Here are the links. Oh, and expect some red velvet vday cupcakes and some muffins in the next couple of days...the ingredients will surprise you.



Friday, February 5, 2010

Sticky Buns

What's your favorite breakfast food?
I was always a big fan of waffles as a kid- the store bought ones, or the ones my dad would make on Saturday mornings, or better still, the amazing waffles ar UP- any of my fellow alum can attest to this. The ridiculous line and waiting in your sweats and unshowered hair was worth it. I'm pretty sure I would be non-vegan for one of those- did I say that outloud?
The other thing I loved were those stupid cinnamon rolls in a tube- especially with orange icing.

Barefoot Contessa made cinnamon rolls with PUFF PASTRY the other day- can you say genius? So, I made them last weekend when my uncle was here for a visit. They are so flaky and light and the pecan/sugar/cranberry mix is great. I followed her recipe almost exactly, but here are the modifications:
SPRAY the muffin tins. Seriously, please do it.
Cut the butter (use Earth Balance, of course) amount in half- no need to have a coronary before 10 am.
For the filling: I used dried cranberries instead of raisins and also added some orange zest and juice to the mixture for a nice flavor combo.

Serve this up with tofu eggs and or veggie patties to have a nice sweet and salty combo. These buns will disappear- try them!!

The recipe for the best buns you'll ever have (sticky buns, people. Where is your head?)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Make time

This post is all about making time to cook yourself a good meal.
I went to yoga after work (what a workout!- don't let anyone tell you otherwise.) I didn't get home until almost 8. I know how tempting it is to stop at the store for a frozen pizza, or hop through the Taco bell drive thru for a bean burrito and cheesy gordita crunch (I may have eaten one or two of those in my day) However, with about 15 minutes worth of effort and 10 minutes of mental planning, I had a much healthier dinner for myself and was plopped in front of the TV by 8:30.
This stuffed mushroom is Mediterranean inspired, served over a bed of sautéed rainbow chard and spinach. Tonight was my first experience with rainbow chard and I loved it.
This mushroom comes together quickly because all the ingredients are precooked in the skillet and meld in the oven. Make time to cook for yourself- your body will thank you.

Mediterranean Stuffed Mushroom with sautéed greens
serves 2

2 large portobello mushrooms (destemed, and gills scooped off with a spoon)
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 scallions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 small jar of artichoke hearts
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, in oil, drained
6-8 olives, chopped: your choice
2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary- and any other seasonings you like!
olive oil
2 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs- I prefer panko

Sautéed greens
1 bunch rainbow chard
1 bunch spinach
2 garlic cloves, chopped
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 400.
For the mushrooms- drizzle each side with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, set in a small casserole dish.
Drizzle olive oil in a skillet. Saute pepper, garlic and onion until tender. Turn off heat. Add cream cheese, artichokes, olives and sun dried tomatoes. Season with herbs and salt and pepper- this is all eye balled.

Place mixture in mushroom. Top each with 1 tablespoon bread crumbs. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes, until mushroom is tender and all stuffing is combined.

While the mushrooms cook, place 1 tablespoon water in preused skillet. Add greens. After about 2 minutes, add garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until greens are soft, but not mush.

Put greens on plate and top with mushroom.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In love with Barefoot.

No not bare feet... bare foot. Those of you who know me really well know that I cannot stand feet- period. Sick. Ugh. Yuck. In fact, in my last week's yoga class the teacher made us high five feet with the person next to us, while we were in this crazy position, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack and die.

As much as I hate bare feet, I absolutely love bare foot...Barefoot Contessa that is. Her recipes are classy and simple, her house in The Hamptons is gorgeous and her little gray-haired husband is adorable. They are quite squeal worthy when in an episode together. I've been quire obsessed with reruns of her show, as of late, and wanted to attempt her lemon yogurt cake, since my uncle is coming to dinner tonight. Lemon does not scream winter (and my picky sister likes it in nothing except lemonade) so I decided winter mandarin oranges made a better choice. I modified almost every single ingredient in the recipe, but the foundation is there and the result was incredibly tasty. The cake is baked in a loaf pan, cooled slightly, drizzled with a juice and topped with a glaze. That sounds excessive, but I cut the sugar down and those last two steps keep the cake moist, so do it!! I made some mini muffins, for taste testers last night; try those too.

Orange Yogurt Cake with Glaze (adapted from BFC Lemon Yogurt Cake)
1 1/2 cups garbanzo bean or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vanilla coconut milk YOGURT (you could use soy or rice milk too)
3/4 cup, plus 1/4 cup natural sugar
3 tablespoons of flax, 9 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons grated mandarin orange zest (about 3)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (you can use all applesauce, no oil, if you want, but I was worried about a chewy cake.)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed mandarin orange juice

For the glaze:
1/2 cup natural confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed mandarin orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan. (MAKE SURE TO LINE AND COAT THE PAN- or you will scrub that pan all night and I will be forced to say I told you so!)

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 3/4 cup sugar, the flax and water, zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the applesauce and oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup juice and remaining sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, prick lots of holes with a toothpick and pour the orange-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and juice and pour over the cake. Add more juice, or water if it's too thick.
Serve with fresh berries and/or coconut milk ice cream.

Delicious pita, not peta.

Whenever I tell people I'm vegan I imagine their heads swimming with ideas about me throwing paint on fur coats and standing at the corner of a McDonalds with huge posters of massacred pigs, wearing, of course, a PETA shirt, or sticker, etc. I promise, I find PETA just as annoying as you do. I appreciate their cause, but when you do things like scold the president for killing a fly, you further alienate yourself from a country that does not understand you, just saying.
In any case, I love the other pita: with hummus, eggplant spread, plain, as sandwich bread, baked as a chip...you get the idea.
I recently discovered a blog, peobably my new fav (noveleats.com) and felt inspired by their pita bread recipe.
I copied the recipe line for line, except two things: I used active yeast and I added garlic salt instead of regular salt. The pita is light in flavor (that's a sweet way of saying bland), as it should be, but to up the flavor, I think next time I'll add a teaspoon of garlic powder, in addition to the regular salt. I also want to try this with cinnamon and bake them into cinnamon sugar chips.
Now, my pitas do not look as pretty as the ones on the noveleats website, but who cares what they look like when you're stuffing it in your mouth 5 minutes before class starts?

Get the recipe here.
If you're using active yeast, follow these directions.