I'm. Finally. Back!
I apologize for my absence these past few months, but I've been very preoccupied with moving! The process was not as extensive as I expected, although it still took me over a month to finally get everything from point A to point B. Luckily, I'm just about settled.
Not being able to cook in my own kitchen has been tough, but I am slowly adapting to my new one. I definitely like the layout (plus it has an island!). I do miss having a gas range, but I actually don't mind my new stove. The change in temp is pretty immediate, which is all I ever need!
Since tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, I'm going to make my come back with a fusion taco recipe. I was going to feature another dessert, but I'm not really sure I can top last year's Tres Leches Cake! No, I wanted to go savory and simple this year. Tacos are indeed a Cinco de Mayo staple, but they rarely ever look like these.
I filled organic taco shells (which you can always use soft, if you prefer) with a curried tempeh filling. The tempeh is crumbled into a stew of veggies and spices and resembles "beef" when it is fully cooked. The vegetables are those that you may find in a basic curry, such as potatoes, carrots, peas...I added some corn in for sweetness as well.
Japanese curry, in my experience, has always been slightly sweeter and more earthy than Indian or Thai curry. I gave the filling this flavor by adding in a bit of cinnamon and mirin to offset the savory garlic and cumin-based curry spice. The resulting flavor is rich, but not hot. Feel free to add chilies or red pepper flakes to increase the hotness. I left this batch mild to accompany the slightly sweet and acidic cabbage slaw I made as a topping!
Enjoy these with any and all taco fixings, a festive drink, and maybe some guac and chips if you're extra hungry. ;)
It's good to be back! <3
Japanese Curry Tempeh Tacos
Free of: Gluten, Oil (dressing only)
Yield: about 6 servings
Curried Tempeh Filling
Apple Slaw Ingredients
About a month ago, my boyfriend and I took an amazing trip to Colorado and Utah. We only dabbled in Utah for a short while and mostly stayed in Colorado. Most of our trip consisted of driving which is why my photos are landscapes, landscapes and more landscapes! Since it was my first time exploring the inland part of the Western U.S., I was a bit in awe of the drastic differences in climate that I experienced. I remember experiencing some form of snow at least once a day during the week that we were traveling. Some days would drop 20 degrees and then spike back up again. Rain followed us through the mountains and often turned to snow or sleet. The desert was the most interesting, as it was dry, sunny, and hot with a cold breeze. I loved it!
I also ate some pretty interesting food while on the road. We stayed in a different place for each night, which gave us plenty of opportunity to explore local food options (or, eat Asian fusion for 3 nights in a row because that was the best vegan option in town). Luckily, we found some awesome markets (and the ever-faithful Whole Foods) on the road that supplied us with breakfast, snacks, etc. I'm glad I can highlight some of the food gems that we found on our trip for you. Hopefully this will entice you to visit the area one day...it's amazingly beautiful. It's definitely somewhere I'd love to go again.
Vegan Adventures in Colorado & Utah
The Beet Box Bakery & Cafe
The Beet Box is such an amazing cafe which quite an unassuming appearance. When I first found their menu online, I freaked out. "This is what I would make for my own cafe!" Boy, was I totally right.
The pastries the Beet Box keeps in their case are different from day to day. They always make everything fresh and in house, including their breads. The first thing I got was a sandwich as I was famished from not eating on the plane ride (yes, this was our first stop after getting off the plane!).
Yes, I was quite pleased with my decision. This is a delicious sandwich that I wish I had created. Gluten-free bread, hummus, onion, radish, apple, cucumber and butter lettuce. My God.
Among the other delicious things we ate there (a total of two trips, I promise!) were cinnamon scones, a strawberry fruit tart, roasted beet sandwich, curry cauliflower croissant, and a cashew cheese mushroom panini. Definitely a spot I would hit up any time of day if you're in Denver looking for vegan eats.
Happy Leaf Kombucha
Up next is a small kombucha bar and cafe in Denver called Happy Leaf Kombucha. Their cafe was amazing in its aesthetic. Their bar and tables were all rustic woods. The art on the walls was the most impressive that I've seen for sale locally in a long time. We stopped in here to get a light snack and some kombucha, since I'm a big kombucha fan. I'm used to drinking GT Dave's , which is delicious, but it isn't on tap!
I must say I was a huge fan of Happy Leaf's product. The kombucha was totally clear and very easy to drink. It didn't sting as much as any other bottled kombucha I've had before. The flavor was subtle as well without too much sweetness.
We ate some homemade hummus while we were there, which was delicious and fresh. They had a soup on special that day as well. It was spicy, smooth, and not too overpowering. A great find.
City O' City
One of the most impressive vegetarian restaurants I've ever been to, hands down, is this wonderful place. City O' City had a great vibe. It was hip, casual yet smart, modern yet comfortable, and inventive yet accessible in their food and beverage offerings.
We went here for dinner the very first night we spent in the city after coming in on the plane that morning. We had received a recommendation for this place and we were so hungry that we went over immediately. After dark, the restaurant dims the lights for a very private sensual feel. This place is kind of magical; I just don't know what else to say.
The first time I ate at City O' City, I got a savory waffle for dinner because why not?! Waffles are things that I seldom make for myself, but I really do love them. I was definitely not disappointed. This waffle was insane. It was a dense, almost cornbread-like batter with thinly peeled spring vegetables on top that had been sauteed lightly. To top the whole thing off, they poured a vegan cheese fondue over everything. The cheese was thin in texture so it didn't overwhelm the dish at all. Genius.
The second time (yes, we went here twice as well) we went to City O' City was the very last day on our trip. We stayed in Denver for the entire day because our flight was overnight, so we took our time with breakfast. Always a treat.
I couldn't help myself. I got a waffle again! This waffle was the WoW (waffle of the week!!!). It was a cinnamon raisin waffle topped with granola, vegan cream cheese, and orange peel. Absolutely to die for. Oh, and we also found Sasquatch. This place has everything you could ever want, so just go and enjoy. <3
During our travels through the mountains and desert, we had to eat on the go a lot. I'm sure you all know how tricky this can be for plant based eaters and those with dietary restrictions. We had a surprisingly easy time finding things! There were an abundance of Asian restaurants in every major town we drove through, which always had at least a few vegetarian options. Some places were better than others. These summer rolls were one of the better things we found. ^_^
We also had to make some stops while driving for snacks. We were so lucky to find small and big businesses that offered vegan options for quick food. Oddly enough, we consumed a lot of freshly pressed juices on our trip. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to eat many vegetables while on the road. What a worry wort.
I also grabbed a fair amount of kombucha from the store in addition to those that I got on tap. What can I say? I'm addicted to it.
My boyfriend is kind of a barista (like, kind of). ;)
So, while we traveled, we tried different coffee shops in search of delicious espresso and coffee to keep us energized. Just like with the Asian restaurants, some of the coffee shops were better than others. We found some surprisingly good cups of coffee while on the road, though. It was such an exciting moment to find one that really hit the spot. Some of the notable shops we found were Corvus Coffee and Deja Brew among others.
About a year ago, I visited my very fist Voodoo Doughnuts location in Portland. I am certianly a lucky gal to have the pleasure of visiting another location a year later. The Voodoo in Denver seemed to have a slightly larger selection of vegan doughnuts, although it could have just been the time of day that we dropped by. My boyfriend got a fruit loops doughnut (I mean, genius again) and I got a maple cream filled doughnut. I was a bit overwhelmed so I didn't finish the whole thing, but man did I enjoy it!
Overall, I'd say my first experience in Colorado was a success. I got to eat a lot of amazing food, spend time with an amazing guy, and see some amazing natural sights. I climbed stuff, soaked in a hot spring, met some buffalo and horses, met up with some friends, and generally had one of the greatest trips of my life. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
Here's until the next time that I travel! I won't keep you out of the loop, I promise! In the meantime, go to Denver. It's a rad place. ;D
Well, it's Cinco de Mayo again! Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that I normally don't celebrate. It's in the same category as St. Patrick's Day for me. Growing up, my family and I would have themed dinners for these holidays. When I got older, I came to know these two holidays as excuses to drink themed alcoholic beverages. Although I do not partake in either of these traditions anymore, I still like to look at different themed recipes for the sake of inspiration.
This year, I decided to make a cake that I did not think I was going to like. Tres Leches cake is something that I make during the day at work but not something I've ever wanted to actually eat. The idea of soaking a cake in sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk makes me a little queasy. It seems incredibly rich and sweet, which are two things I do not enjoy very much in my desserts. I like either one of them, but not both in one recipe.
In order to broaden my baking horizons, I decided to create my own version of a tres leches cake that was gluten free, vegan, and less rich and sweet. The result of my efforts was surprisingly delightful! I absolutely loved the way that my cake turned out. I've jumped on the aquafaba wave (egg white substitute made from chickpea brine). I learned of the magical powers of chickpea brine from this Facebook group. Ever since I became vegan, I've dreamed of creating something that mimicked angel food cake, sponge cake, castella, etc. I loved the spongy, almost dry texture. It's something that I never wanted to eat a lot of, but I loved baking cakes that came out this way. They're beautiful, perfect for decorating, and lower in fats for perfectly light summer desserts.
When I went in search of a traditional tres leches cake recipe, I found a cake that seems sponge-like in its description. The cake contained a lots of eggs and dry ingredients. They did not call for fats or liquids of any kind. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try my first attempt at making vegan chickpea egg whites!
The rest of the tres leches recipe was quite simple when I found a way to make the cake. There is a soaking liquid, which I just substituted non-dairy milk for (and some cinnamon for flavor). ;)
The whipped cream topping was a simple fix: coconut whipped cream! Coconut whipped cream is the stuff dreams are made of. I love eating it in the summer. It's basically the most delicious and simple dessert to make if you have nothing else on hand. I always try to keep my pantry stocked with cans of coconut milk for last minute dessert ideas.
In the end, I made the cake successfully. I soaked the cake in my milk and cinnamon mixture. Then, I topped the entire thing with mounds of delicious coconut cream that I made in my Vitamix (no need for a mixer if you have this handy). To top the cake off and add some acidity, I dropped some frozen raspberries into the cream. I'm a changed vegan. I do like tres leches cake and I'm going to eat it all. ^_^
Vegan Tres Leches Cake
Cake recipe adapted from Latina Magazine
Yields: 6-8 servings
Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Egg-free, Oil-free
Chickpea Egg Whites:
* If you have dietary restrictions/allergies regarding these types of milk, feel free to use your preferred non-dairy milk! It also does not have to be two types. If you have only one, the cake will still come out fine. =)
Coconut Whipped Cream
For the cake:
Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl together with a wooden spoon/whisk.
Place chickpea brine in a large food processor/mixing bowl fitted with a whip. Whip chickpea brine and slowly add in the sugar. Add cream of tartar and Ener-G powder slowly as well. Continue to whip brine mixture until it turns into a meringue-type consistency, about 12 minutes. Check periodically for firmness. Different machines will take longer or shorter. In my food processor it took approximately 12-14 minutes.
After the meringue is ready, add half of it to the bowl of dry ingredients and fold in gently. Fold in the second half of the meringue gently, making sure not to over-work the batter.
Pour the batter into a greased 8x8 square cake pan. Bake on 360 F for about 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Chill the cake in the fridge until completely cooled, about 1 hour.
For the soaking liquid:
Combine both non-dairy milks (or just 1 if using) with cinnamon in a blender. Once the cinnamon is dissolved, set the milk aside and grab the cake from the fridge. Poke some holes in the cake that should be completely cooled by now. Pour the milk mixture over the cake, making sure to soak the entire cake. Place the cake back in the fridge to soak while you make the coconut whipped cream.
For the coconut whipped cream:
Open the can of coconut cream that has been chilling in the fridge. Scrape the cream from the top of the can with a spoon and place in a blender/mixer bowl, being careful not to get much liquid in the process. Set the liquid aside for another use. Add some sweetener to the coconut cream and extract, if using. Blend the coconut cream until it is thick and spreadable, about 2 minutes. If using a mixer, beat the coconut cream (preferably with a whip) mixture until desired whipped consistency is achieved. When you are ready to serve the cake, remove it from the fridge and top it with the coconut cream. Cut the cake into individual squares for serving and top with some fresh/frozen fruit for a deliciously refreshing dessert! Enjoy!
I have been continuing to welcome spring with light, cleansing dishes (for the most part! ^_^'). I recently found myself in my local Asian market looking for new things to cook with. I found some lotus root, which I have tried before in a tea/broth form. When I attended Natural Kitchen Cooking School, one of my classmates shared lotus root tea with everyone. She attributed the healing powers of lotus root to almost curing her chronic asthma. The lotus root supports lung health (which is interesting because it also looks like a lung when sliced open) by dissolving built-up mucus.
The tea that I had sampled was made by grating raw lotus root and steeping it in hot water. The resulting broth tasted almost like a bland, nutty potato soup with a less starchy texture. I was craving a simple soup tonight so I decided to boil the sliced lotus root with some other light cleansing vegetables. This soup is definitely something you should make when you either don't feel well or want to give your digestive system a break. If you would like, you may add some noodles or rice to it for a more substantial meal. I wouldn't, however, add anything too processed to this soup. Easter is coming up. Save yourself for the chocolate and jelly beans. ;D
Lotus Root Miso Soup
Well, I'm back. ^_^
I apologize for being so absent for the past couple of months! I found myself wrapped up in life after the holidays came to a close and my blogging has suffered as a result. For that, I am sorry...
The good news is, I haven't stopped cooking! I have managed to remain active on Instagram to prove that I'm still alive and munching. As the snow melts, I've found that my palette has changed dramatically. I'm craving light, crispy vegetables like sweet peppers, scallions, and bean sprouts among others. The winter has proved to be long, cold, and dark. I'm through with heavy food! (For now... ;D)
I'm beginning the new season with a light yet satisfying dish with all the flavor in the world. I mean, I can't promise you all the flavor, I suppose. I can, however, promise you as much flavor as I can. And right now, that's quite a bit.
I created this dish (and am still reinventing it often) based off of a delicious plate of food I ate one night in Savannah. I visited this beautiful city in the middle of January while the North East got slammed with a snow storm. I enjoyed a temperate climate, palm trees, noodles, and some good company. (Although, I did come home to a snow shovel. It was still totally worth it!)
I went to a local Asian fusion restaurant called the Flying Monk Noodle Bar. This place is lively, bright, colorful, and hip. The dishes are inspired by all different Asian cuisines. The dish that I made here is a take on their curry noodles, which were so insanely addictive. I may or may not have eaten them more than once in one night... >_>
These noodles were also modeled off a recipe that I found in a massive noodle cookbook/Bible (The World's Best Asian Noodle Recipes). The recipe is called Singapore Mei Fun noodles. I've had a mild obsession with rice noodles lately and I like to put everything with them. This dish is wonderful because it can literally be a junk pile for any and all vegetables that you have lying around. Carrots on the ground? Into the noodles!
The best part of this whole dish is the fact that it is so flavorful. I added and entire tablespoon of curry powder into it...along with many other spices. Feel free to dial back the spice level by omitting the red pepper flakes and (maybe) cutting back on the curry. But, I mean, they're called curry noodles for a reason. If the noodles aren't enough for you, eat more. If you're still hungry after that, maybe consider preparing a protein of your choice to go along with (tempeh, tofu, seitan, edamame, beans, etc.). Oh, and a bottle of sake or soju is always cool too. ^_~
Curry Rice Noodles with Pan Seared Portabella
Yield: approx. 4 servings
Adapted from: Singapore Mei Fun Noodles, The World's Best Asian Noodle Recipes
My dad and I are very alike in the fact that we love to snack. I could (and usually do) forgo meals altogether and just pick at different things all day long. I love variety in my diet. If I eat the same things at the same time during the day, I get so bored that I'd rather not eat at all. There's no fun!
These cookies are absolutely perfect. They can be eaten at any time of day (yes, even breakfast!). They're approximately 1,000 times more nutritious than their predecessors. I updated a recipe that I've had my eye on for quite some time. The original is full of butter, sugar, refined flour, and shame. I made these rangers full of fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and feel-good vibes. B) Any ranger would do well in the line of duty with these cookies in his/her lunch box/stomach!
Make a batch and share some with your dad or someone who you appreciate for supporting you. Nothing says "thank you, I love you and your mustache" like chewy delicious cookies!
Chocolate Cherry Ranger Cookies
Yield: approx 48 cookies
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Oh-and P.S.-Tomorrow is also special because it's the Game of Thrones season finale! Get pumped!!
Cornbread is something that I never ate too much of while growing up. We almost never had home made or even home baked Jiffy cornbread! When we got some, it was usually store bought. I can't even imagine what ingredients made up that stuff. It's a shame; homemade cornbread is so easy to make! Once I began to bake, I decided that cornbread was going to be something that I wanted to master. I love to put things in it, like berries, seeds, jam, vegan cheese...you name it! I have yet to try a spicy cornbread recipe, but that is next on my list...
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to come across blue cornmeal! I had read about this rarity in Vegetarian Times a couple years ago and was instantly intrigued. I haven't been able to find it since. Luckily, Arrowhead Mills sells an organic variety of blue cornmeal that I happened upon. I knew this was a sign. I had to make blue cornbread. But, not just any blue cornbread...DOUBLE blue cornbread! I took inspiration from double chocolate muffins. If it can be done with chocolate chips any cocoa powder, why not with blue corn and blueberries?
I love blueberries in cornbread. I first tried this combination a few summers back at my local Whole Foods. The bakery there makes vegan blueberry cornbread from scratch and it's mighty delicious. I've always liked the taste of cornbread because it's savory and sweet at the same time. The best thing you can do for homemade cornbread is mix in something slightly sweet into the batter to give it some depth of flavor, like fresh sweet corn off the cob...that's a dream right there! I hope this recipe inspires you to fantasize about cornbread as much as I do!
Double Blueberry Cornbread
Yield: 1 8x8 square pan/1 loaf/1 muffin tin's worth
Oven 350 F.
So, like I said, I'm still on my "spring cleaning" detox theme. Any detox that involves delicious ice cream is good for me! This idea started with a granola recipe. I was never keen on buying pre-made granola. Even though some varieties are very high quality, they can cost a fortune! Realistically, it's far cheaper to buy organic oats in bulk and then toast them yourself. Yep. Granola is basically toasted oats with stuff mixed in it. I also like making granola at home so I can control what goes in it. Too often are pre-packaged cereals laden with added sweeteners and oils. Some fat and sweeteners make granola delicious, this is true. However, I like to keep these ingredients in check for both health and flavor. Granola that is as sugary as candy doesn't do anyone any favors.
This granola is great because it's also multi-grain! I added some millet and quinoa for nutritional and textural benefits! I love the cunch the two grains add to the granola. By using the base ingredients for this mixture (oats, quinoa, millet, liquid ingredients...) you can change up what nuts/seeds/dried fruit/chocolate(!) you add. Customize and have fun!
Granola is also wonderful (let me count the ways!) because you can always serve it with something. I love using granola as a topping or garnish for breakfast porridge, smoothies, chia pudding, and ICE CREAM!!! I devised a completely clean and naturally sweet ice cream that can be eaten for any meal or snack of the day. This concoction is basically a bunch of fruits blended together with a bit of spirulina...not complicated at all! (It's also a lovely mint green color that is absolutely adorable!) Go ahead, whip some up for a midnight snack! If you wake anyone up with the sound of the blender, appease them with ice cream and send them back to bed. #Nobigdeal
Avocado Ice Cream and Granola Parfait
Avocado Ice Cream
Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender or food processor till smooth. You may add a little liquid if it needs help moving (water, coconut water, non-dairy milk). Consistency will be like frozen yogurt soft serve! YUM
Gluten Free Multi-Grain Granola
Yield: approx. 3 cups
Preheat oven to 375.
Combine all wet ingredients and spices in a bowl and microwave to melt the coconut oil. Pour the mixture into a blender/food processor and blend until it forms a thick paste.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients with a large spoon. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and combine. Spread granola on a baking sheet and bake for about 17 minutes, tossing everything about half way through baking time to ensure even cooking. Let cool and munch! =)
Happy parfait making!! ^_^
Lately, the weather has been warming up quite a bit! There were a few days last week that felt like summer had decided to come early, but they came and went so quickly. I honestly prefer spring temperatures that hover around the high 60's-low 70's. That's my happy place.
When the weather changes, I try to change my eating habits to suit the energy of the air. In very hot conditions, my body seems to crave more raw foods or lightly cooked foods. This is true of most people, I would think. A huge bowl of soup in 85 degree weather seems a bit unappealing, unless the soup is chilled. I will still drink hot tea and coffee in the summer, but only when the temperature drops when the sun goes down.
This pattern of eating is difficult for me because I LOVE hot food. The fall and winter are my favorite seasons because warm foods are back in vogue and they keep me cozy in the chilly air. This year, I am determined to get myself excited for spring and summer foods. I'm trying to eat more raw at this time. It's almost like a spring cleaning or "detox" for my body and eating habits before the sweltering heat of summer arrives.
Breakfast has been a bit of a challenge for me to convert to raw food mostly because it usually consists of some hot porridge, hot rice, hot soup, hot tea...ANYTHING hot! I've known about chia pudding for a while now and I've tried it a few times. Only recently did I realize how versatile and amazing this concoction is! Thanks to a bunch of awesome healthy Instagrammers, I've gotten a ton of #foodspiration on how to make raw breakfasts interesting. I've pretty much been obsessed with chia pudding and overnight oats for the past week now. I eat some form of them every morning. This is wonderful for my sleep patterns too because I can mix my ingredients the night before and they create deliciousness in my fridge come 3:30 am when I wake up! (I know...insane.)
This post is dedicated to three of my favorite raw breakfast puddings that I've created lately. I am constantly trying new flavors and ingredients to mix things up. It's similar to what Chocolate Covered Katie does with oatmeal and baked oatmeal. Please check out her recipes if you love oats and tasty dessert-inspired flavors! They're delectable!
I will definitely take her lead and try to create more fun flavors for my breakfast puddings. I'm just getting warmed up! (Or...cooled down?)
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Chia Pudding
Blend the oat milk, vanilla, maple syrup and cinnamon in a blender to dissolve (or whisk briskly! try saying that 10x fast...). Pour in a glass/bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Place in fridge overnight. Top with some coconut sugar if desired and savor when you're ready for breakfast!
Yield: 1 cup
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until completely smooth. Use to drink, in cereal, in baking, sauces, soups, or smoothies!
Blueberry Pie Chia Pudding
Blend all ingredients (only 1 Tb of the berries) except chia in a blender, but not until smooth. Some pieces of blueberry are okay-you are just looking for a nice purple hue! Stir in the other 1 Tb blueberries and chia seeds. Let set in the fridge overnight.
Cinnamon Mocha Chia Pudding
Combine all except the chia seeds in a blender to dissolve. Pour the mixture in a glass/bowl and stir in the chia. Top with some cinnamon or cocao powder. Let set in fridge overnight. Use it to recharge in the morning! #screwstarbucks
If you want to see more foodspiration, check out my new Instagram page! It's just pictures of things that I eat in (mostly) real time! Like I said, I'm totally addicted. =D
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.