March 30, 2011

Blueberry Cinnamon French Toast & Hash Browns


Can I just start off by saying I love Chef Chloe? She was the first Vegan baker to win Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. I had read her blog before, but revisited it after I saw her appearance. By the way, if you missed the episode, you missed some amazing Vegan deliciousness. Her winning recipe was a Raspberry Tiramisu Cupcake. To die for. So recently I decided to give her blog a visit again and I saw this recipe for French Toast. I've made French Toast before, but it's been nothing like this! So sweet and tart from the berries and the French Toast itself isn't too sweet. It's all about the sauce!

I've actually been wanting to make this French Toast for a couple of weeks now and last night as I was peering into my fridge trying to come up with something to throw together, I realized I had all the ingredients! Plus my little sister (and best friend in the whole wide world!) was coming over with a hungry belly! So I whipped this up in no time! Super easy to make and super yummy to eat!

Serves 6-8

Blueberry Sauce Ingredients:
  •  4 cups of frozen blueberries or 2 pints fresh
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/2 lemon - juice and zest
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

March 25, 2011

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes with Blueberry Frosting


I've been working on this vanilla cupcake recipe for what seems like forever now and I think I've finally got it! Soft and moist, but not so much that they fall apart, and incredibly delicious! Just what you want in a cupcake! I was trying to come up with a really great vanilla cupcake recipe for my friend's baby shower that's coming up in the beginning of April (that I'm throwing with one of my other friends). I'll probably just keep the frosting vanilla flavor for the party and just omit the blueberry juice, but of course add blue food coloring (she's having a boy!) I also wanted to create this recipe because my Best Friend asked me a couple of weeks ago if I knew of a good Vegan vanilla cake recipe. That got me to thinking, I don't think I've ever made a Vegan vanilla cake. What? Why? I don't know, I guess my love for chocolate cake kept me from making one! I'm on a little bit of a sugar overload right now (if you couldn't tell by all the tangents and exclamation points I've been using)...I should probably take a break from the desserts for a while!

Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup vegan shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened smooth applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk

March 22, 2011

Product Review: Rhythm Chips


These are so good! I was shopping at one of my local natural foods stores the other day (the one I used to work at!) and one of the employees recommended Rhythm Superfoods' Kale Chips to me! I'm so glad she did, because they were beyond yummy. They're raw, all natural kale chips! I know it kind of sounds disgusting, but they come in super yummy flavors! The store I was in had Zesty Nacho, Kool Ranch, and Bombay Curry. I decided to go with the Zesty Nacho flavor since I'm a sucker for anything remotely "cheese" related.

The thing I liked about it was that they're not pretending to be something they're not. Yes, it tastes like a vegetable chip, but the seasonings were so good that you don't realize what you were snacking on was really healthy for you! The Zesty Nacho is seasoned with bell pepper, cashews, onion, nutritional yeast, garlic, and lots of other tasty spices and veggies. Again, it's a raw, vegan snack and it packs a whopping 150% serving of vitamin A per serving and 117% serving of vitamin C! Not to mention all the great calcium and iron you're getting from eating your greens! I can't wait to try the other flavors!!

March 20, 2011

Meatout 2011 Giveaway Extravaganza! - CLOSED


WooHoo! Free stuff! I decided to do my Giveaway today even though I haven't received everything. If I end up getting more stuff in the mail, I guess I'm just going to have to do another giveaway! As you all hopefully know, I was asked by the organization F.A.R.M. to help them with their project Meatout by doing a giveaway on my blog! I've contacted some companies to help me out and they've been nothing but generous! I'm so excited to be able to share some of my favorite products with you guys, and of course give you free stuff! I will be giving away 4 packages full of goodies to my blog readers! So let's start!


March 19, 2011

Giveaway Update + News about Me!



Hey Everybody! I know most blogs are going to be doing their giveaways tomorrow for FARM's Meatout event, but I'm still expecting some packages in the mail full of goodies to giveaway to my lovely blog readers! I'm planing on doing it within the week though! So be on the lookout for my giveaway post!

I'm still sick. This cough seriously will not go away. I'm considering going to the doctor since it's been like a month and half since I've had it. Unless anybody else has some home remedy suggestions? I'll try anything! I'm desperate!

Also, I just had to share some really exciting things happening with me! I'm starting to organize a bake sale to raise money for two charities that are helping with the disaster in Japan. Japan really holds a special place in my heart. It was the language that I took in school from 5th grade to 12th grade. The footage I've watched is just devastating. So my family, friends, and I are going to get together and sell some yummy sugary treats! I've decided to have half the money go to Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support (JEARS) and the other half we haven't decided on yet. Of course I'll post pictures of the event and all of the yummy vegan treats I'll be selling (plus recipes of course!).

And on April 30th, my family and I will be doing the Walk For Animals for the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota! It's a 5 mile walk in Golden Valley Minnesota where people and animals walk together to raise money and support for the Humane Society! I've been wanting to do it for years and finally decided to do it! I know Keeva is going to have so much fun! Super excited!!

I added a feature on the right side of my blog that allows me to share with you guys some of my favorite cookbooks! I had so much fun picking them! I hope you like it!

Thanks Everyone!!

March 18, 2011

VH Favorites: Toiletries Edition Part 2


Welcome to another addition of VH Favorites everybody! This is Part 2 of my favorite toiletries I use. I had way too many to list, so I decided to break it up into 2 posts. You can read Part 1 here!

So again, the reason I'm doing a list of my favorite toiletries is because, for me, becoming totally Vegan means using cruelty free products as well. Worldwide it is estimated that the number of vertebrate animals—from zebrafish to non-human primates—ranges from the tens of millions to more than 100 million used annually. Invertebrates, mice, rats, birds, fish, frogs, and animals not yet weaned are not included in the figures; one estimate of mice and rats used in the United States alone in 2001 was 80 million. So for me, a major part of my veganism is supporting companies that include no animal ingredients in their products and do no animal testing. Also, I think it's important to hold accountable the companies that do use animal testing by protesting the use of their products. Let's face it, if you stop using the product, it hurts their pocketbook, which is their ultimate concern. If enough people decide that it's important to them to use products not tested on animals, the companies will change!

To find out which companies do or don't test on animals, Peta has a great list that you can find here

What are your favorite toiletries? What do you think about animal testing in general? Is using cruelty-free products part of your vegan lifestyle?

Favorite Deodorant

I love love LOVE this deodorant! Desert Essence's Tea Tree Oil Deodorant takes care of the stink (gross!) without harsh chemicals like aluminum that prevent your body from perspiring! Plus it smells really good!

March 15, 2011

Classic Blueberry Muffins

 

I don't know if it's because I've been eating muffins with protein powder in them or what, but when I bit into these, it was pure heaven. These are the best vegan blueberry muffins I have ever had. So light and fluffy. So sweet and delicious! This recipe comes from a 2005 issue of Vegetarian Times. It's another recipe that I've had sitting in my recipe box forever that I've never tried, until now that is. I think the addition of applesauce is what made it so moist and airy! I can't wait to experiment with applesauce in the future!

Speaking of protein muffins, I don't want to get back into my P90x regime until this cold or whatever I have is 100% gone! It's hard enough as it is doing P90x and I don't want to make it any worse! Does that happen to anyone else? When they finally start working out and start getting into better eating habits, something comes up like getting sick or maybe an injury or something? It sucks! I'm taking my multi-vitamins and eating super healthy (minus a blueberry muffin every once and a while!), but this cold is just lingering! I can't wait for winter to be over!

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1-2 cups frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the muffin pan with muffin tins and spray with oil.

First start by mixing the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in the middle. Mix together until well combined. Don't over-mix!

Divide the batter evenly among the cups. The easiest way I've found is to use an ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into the cups! It works great every time and I always get yummy crispy muffin tops!

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar on top! Cool on a wire rack.


March 14, 2011

Human Breast Milk Ice Cream: Vegan or Not?


Pardon me if this is as disgusting for you as it is for me, but I just had to share!

An Ice Cream shop in London has started selling ice cream made from human breast milk that they've entitled "Baby Gaga". Apparently it's so popular that it's sold out until they can find more suppliers. The suppliers that they do have are breastfeeding women who are looking to make extra money on the side with their extra milk.

There's been all sorts of health concerns since human breast milk isn't regulated by any government agency such as the FDA, although they do require a health check similar to those who donate blood. Matt O'Connor, the owner of the shop that's selling "Baby Gaga" has made a really valid point, "Some people are turned off by the idea," O'Connor told AOL News "but, really, it raises the philosophical question: Is it better if we use milk from cows injected with hormones who are artificially induced with pregnancy every few months, or human milk?"

After hearing about a similar situation where a restaurant owner in Switzerland is substituting 75% of the non-human dairy with breast milk, Peta sent a letter to one of America's most well known ice cream companies, Ben and Jerry's. Their main talking points were that it would help dairy cows and the overall health of human consumers.

I for one am a little put off by it. Don't you think there is a better use for "extra" breast milk? Also, would you consider it to be Vegan since it is coming from a human rather than another animal?

March 13, 2011

New Page! "Meet...well, Me!"


I've added a new page called "Meet Matthew"! I wanted to make the blog a little more personal so you guys could get to know me better! It's just a start. I might to a few changes here and there, but I think it looks great so far! Let me know what you all think.

And of course if you have any questions, just let me know. Thanks everyone!!

Mexican Lasagna


Once again, thank you Rachael Ray. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter then you saw that I hinted at my next recipe! This is one of the recipes I've had in my recipe box for a while and have never tried! That's one of my favorite things about this blog. I've collected so many recipes over the years that I still haven't tried, so it's giving me a reason to give them a go!

I don't know how many of you are fans of Rachael or watch any of her shows, but I absolutely love her! I remember the first time I every watched 30 minute meals actually. I was probably 14 or 15 and I had my cousin sleeping over. It was really late one night and we were just flipping through the channels and stumbled upon this show called 30 Minute Meals. I remember it was her Thanksgiving episode and she was making stuffing with apples in it (She said her favorite apples were Jonagold. I can't believe I remember that). I thought it sounded disgusting, so I was intrigued. We ended up watching the whole episode and I quickly set up 30 Minute Meals as a Season Pass on my TiVo!

Rachael has provided me with a number of excellent recipes over the years, a couple of which I've already shared with you guys on my blog (like this one and this one)! She gladly did not disappoint on this recipe either. I'm just sad it took me this long to make it since this episode aired at least 5 years ago!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp light oil
  • 2 cups of Veggie Crumbles (Boca is my favorite!)
  • 1/2 medium sized red onion - diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (a few dashes)
  • 1 25 oz can of Black Beans
  • 1 14.5 oz can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Frozen Corn
  • 4 or 5 tortillas (you could use corn or flour tortillas)
  • 1 cup of taco or enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups of Galaxy Mexican Style Shreds or Daiya Pepperjack Shreds
  • 2 Scallions - finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp light oil. Add the ground crumbles and season with the chili powder, cumin, pepper, and hot sauce. Add in the onion and garlic - cook for 5 minutes. Then add the canned fire roasted tomatoes. Stir and add the beans and corn. Heat the mixture through for 2-3 minutes.

Coat a shallow baking dish with the taco/enchilada sauce. Cut tortillas in to strips with a pizza cutter to make them easy to layer. Layer the crumbles/bean mixture, tortillas, more sauce, and cheese. Repeat until the baking dish is full. Make sure the top layer is cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cheese melts. You may need to set the oven to broil in order to melt the cheese. Top with scallions and serve!

March 11, 2011

Product Review: Tofurky Vegan Pizzas


I've finally had the chance to try all 3 of Tofurky's new line of frozen pizza's with Daiya cheese on top! I love that there's so many products on the market now for busy Vegans! First off, let me start by saying that I love a great home-made pizza. As you know, I've been sick so I haven't been feeling up to cooking lately. That's where frozen pizza came in to save my day!


Picture it. I was lying on my couch at 8:30 p.m., staring at the ceiling wondering what I was going to do for dinner. Rice? Please, not again. Steamed Kale? Didn't even feel like washing it. French Toast? Are you kidding? If I don't want to wash kale, I'm not going to make myself French Toast (watch for that recipe soon though!). Then it hits me. I have a Tofurky pizza in the freezer. My dinner was saved by a delicious Italian "Sausage" and Fire-Roasted Vegetable dream.


So I'm going to give these pizza's a solid A-. My one kvetch is that there was way too much pepperoni on the pepperoni pizza. I had to scrape some of it off actually. Other than that, they were completely delicious. I would suggest giving them a go!

Tofurky Pizzas are available online at Vegan Essentials!


Also, I'd love to thank Tofurky for helping me with my future giveaway that's coming up on March 20th! Be sure to watch for that!

March 9, 2011

Auntie's Cherry Cheesecake


Ugh, I can't get over this cold! I feel like it's on the tail end of it at least, but it's been a few weeks now! I guess it doesn't help that I've been eating like crap, but when I'm sick I sometimes get really lazy. And in this case, I felt really sick and tired, which means no cooking for me! It's not a good trade off I know. While I can rest instead of cook, I tend to eat less healthy foods. Starting tomorrow though, I'm going to eat as healthy as I possibly can until this thing goes away! Oatmeal breakfast, Brown Rice and Kale Lunch! And Dinner has yet to be planned. Now that you've been updated on my misery, let's get on with the more pressing topic - the deliciousness that is cheesecake.

I know. I know. Another cheesecake so soon? I feel you. This one is completely different though. It's lighter, thanks to the whipped cream. I guess I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing considering I felt like I could eat more of it. This is my Great Aunt Mary Jo's recipe. It's super simple! I made my own coconut whipped cream, but you can use pre-made Vegan whipped cream if you'd like. Soya-too and MimicCreme make a couple of great options (use the ones in the aseptic package - not in the aerosol can).

Ingredients:
  • 1 prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1 8oz package of Vegan Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups of Coconut Whipped Cream (or pre-packaged Vegan Whipped Cream)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups of Cherry Pie Filling

Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until well combined and smooth. Add in the corn starch and almond extract. Fold in the whipped cream until well combined. Pour into prepared graham cracker rust and chill for 1 hour. Top with the Cherry Pie Filling and refrigerate until ready to serve. I found that refrigerating it overnight works best. It was set really well after 12 hours of refrigeration.

March 7, 2011

Vegan Machine Book Giveaway!


Hey Blog readers! Just thought I would let you know that Vegan Machine is giving away a free copy of Skinny Bitch In the Kitch! I love Vegan Machine's blog! Such great recipes! And I've heard such good things about these books too! Who couldn't use a free book right?

To enter visit here: http://www.veganmachine.com/2011/03/skinny-bitch-in-kitch-cookbook-giveaway.html

Good luck everyone! I'll be posting some really great recipes this week that I'm really excited about! Some new ones (to me) and some old family favorites! Does anybody else let there dishes pile up like I do? I'm really a very neat person, minus dishes. It doesn't help that I don't have a dishwasher so the dish washing process takes so much longer! Anyways, finally got them all done and now I can get back to cooking more delicious food!

March 5, 2011

Black Olive and Tomato Bruschetta


This is such a great appetizer or side to any meal! I wish I could have gotten a better picture for you guys. Lighting is terrible at night! I'll try to get a better one the next time I make it.

I was inspired to make this by a restaurant here in Minneapolis called the French Meadow Bakery (who make awesome bread and tortillas in case you want to know). I was eating there with my best friend and for our appetizer we had bruschetta with tomatoes and capers on top! They were so delicious! My friend had never actually had bruschetta before, she had never even heard of it! So here's a simple appetizer for you guys to try! You're friends will be so impressed!

Ingredients:
  • 1 french baguette loaf
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup black olives, sliced
  • Vegan Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese (optional)

March 3, 2011

Lemon Poppyseed Oatmeal


Well my friends, it's time for another edition of how I eat my Steel Cut Oats!

I've said before, I need a high protein breakfast for my P90x nutrition plan. I'm already done with the first month! Yay me! Although Peanut Butter & Jelly oats are my favorite way to eat them, this is definitely my second! It's pretty simple too! If you're one of those people who wakes up in the morning and is "zombie-like", this breakfast is for you! Just make sure you prepare the oats in advance, you zombies! I can't wait to continue experimenting with different ways to flavor my oats for breakfast! I have a few coming up in the future...

Go here to read my post on how to prepare Steel Cut Outs.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared Steel Cut Oats
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp Agave Nectar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • A few tbsp Vegan Whipped Cream (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy! Add the optional whipped cream on top!

March 2, 2011

VH Favorites: Toiletries Edition Part 1


These are a few of my favorite things...brown paper packages tied up with string. Or something like that. So I know I shared some of my favorite things from my favorite website Vegan Essentials, but I thought it would be fun to do a post segment called VH Favorites. I'm hoping this will be helpful to Vegan newbies, or those that don't realize that being Vegan (for me at least) doesn't just mean cutting out some food groups.

All of my product selections are Vegan, meaning they contain no animal ingredients and have not been tested on animals. I tend to use completely all natural stuff as well. I had 14 picks, which I thought was a little much for 1 post, so I'm going to split it up in to 2 posts. If you have any questions, let me know! Enjoy!

Favorite Shampoo and Conditioner

 
Avalon Organics Clarifying Lemon Shampoo and Conditioner are my picks for favorite Shampoo and Conditioner. They smell so good! No artificial scents here! Plus I think the lemon extracts give me subtle blonde highlights in my hair (at least that's what my stylist says!)

March 1, 2011

Super Easy Guacamolé


My favorite color is green and every time I make guacamole (or pesto for that matter), I get so happy! I came across this recipe when I worked at a local natural foods store, but it's been tailored to fit my taste buds! The original had way too much cilantro and onion for me. I like the avocados to stand out in my guacamole.

This recipe is definitely one of my favorites. Not only is it easy, it's super delicious! It doesn't make very much, maybe about 3 cups. If you're planning on preparing this for a party, I would double or even triple the recipe to meet your needs.

Ingredients:
  • 3 large avocados
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 medium sized bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, juice and seeds removed, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 - 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste