Monday, April 30, 2012

Overnight Oatmeal Obsession


As the above title may imply, I am currently obsessed with overnight oats. For the past three days I've eaten them for breakfast AND lunch. They are easy, delicious, and did I mention easy? Mix a few ingredients together, pop them in the fridge, go to sleep - wake up and eat awesome oatmeal! Easy.

If you love oatmeal, but have gotten just a little tired of the same old thing, this is a really wonderful alternative! 

This particular recipe may taste like you're eating a big bowl of pumpkin pie for breakfast, but it's SO good for you! Antioxidant rich pumpkin, uber awesome chia seeds (for a little more info on chia seeds click here), fiber packed oats, and iron, calcium, and magnesium rich molasses. The flavors have all night to come together, the oats soften, and the chia seeds absorb everything. The recipe comes from another one of my favorite blogs, OhSheGlows - and I cannot wait to try her other recipes for overnight oats!

Tonight - I'm playing around with one of my favorite flavor combos - chocolate cherry with roasted almonds - I'll let you know how they turn out! In the meanwhile, give this recipe a go!

Alterations: I did replace the maple syrup with about 5 drops of liquid stevia, and I didn't make the banana soft serve she recommends to go with it - I'm sure it's awesome, but I was a bit lazy :) 

OhSheGlows Gingerbread Overnight Oats

I drizzled my Gingerbread Oats with a little extra molasses ;)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

 Fat Free Vegan's Zucchini Frittata

One of my favorite food blogs, is Susan Voisin's FatFreeVeganKitchen. Her photos are gorgeous (you may have seen her work in Nava Atlas's Vegan Holiday Kitchen, which came out last November), and the recipe's are delicious and inspiring. It's one of my favorite recipe resources.

This vegan frittata (think crust-less quiche) is one of my families favorite FatFreeVegan recipes. It's the perfect light, savory and healthy supper. Pair it with a green salad, some vegetable soup, or simply enjoy it on its own (mom and I enjoyed ours with a bit of salsa).

Here is the link to the recipe - FatFreeVegan Zucchini Fritatta. I do make a few alterations to Susan's recipe:
  • In the silken tofu mixture: I omit the oregano (a matter of personal taste), add three cloves of garlic instead of the one, and as I don't usually keep tahini on hand, I add 1 TBS of raw cashews to the blender. 
  •  I use an entire block of extra-firm tofu instead of half - makes it a bit heartier.
  • For the veggies: instead of shredding one zucchini, I thinly slice two of them and add about one cup of finely chopped broccoli. In the past I've added spinach, which is also tasty. You could really do any combo of veggies you like. 

Straight out of the oven!

I like to serve it straight out of the pan instead of inverting it onto a platter, and if you actually allow it cool for a bit after you take it out of the oven, it does firm up very nicely - and looks like pie when sliced. However, we didn't the patience to wait! So while it looks a bit messy, it still tastes really freaking good!

With Salsa :)

I hope you enjoy it, and check out FatFreeVegan

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chocolate Cups filled with a Mint Cashew Butter & Two Nut-Filled Variations!

Simple, agave sweetened, gluten-free, and delicious!

So, as I mentioned last time, I've recently formed a beautiful new, fairly food-centric, relationship with an old friend. And recently, our discussions have turned to chocolate! And oh the possibilities ;) Last Thursday, while at work, watching the kids eat pizza after a morning full of running about during field day, Melissa pulled out a small glass container which held four beautiful little chocolates that she'd made that morning (chocolate for breakfast? um, yeah - we're best friends forever!), and shared them with me. So while the kids munched away at their pizza, I savored first a chocolate cup filled with a cashew mint filling, then one filled with sweet, fresh blueberries. They were blissful, and just the pick me up needed after attempting to herd 30 small children around relays and other assorted field day related activities all morning.

Feeling inspired, I picked up a chocolate mold at Michaels this afternoon, and tried my hand at it! Following Melissa's recipe for the first batch, and experimenting a bit with my second - I spent about half an hour playing chocolatier. And the results, though not terribly pretty, still tasted delicious. They're just sweet enough for me - I don't like anything super sweet - very rich and decadent. They're dairy free (of course) and low in sugar! I used agave nectar in mine, but next time I want to try brown rice syrup, or perhaps maple syrup - I believe Melissa used coconut nectar - basically the options for sweeteners are wide open. Experiment away!
This recipe made 11 small chocolates in my mold, plus one large cup I made in a cupcake liner. I believe Melissa got about 6 mini cupcake sized chocolates from this batch.

Chocolate Cups filled with Mint Cashew Butter

by Melissa C.

Cashew Butter:
1/3 cup raw cashews
1 TBS chia seeds (this was my addition to the recipe - they make these even more filling :) 
2 tsp agave (or sweetener of choice)

In a food processor, or mortar and pestle if you're feeling old school, grind the cashews and chia seeds until very fine. Add the agave and pulse/grind to create a paste. The texture you're looking for is kind of like pie dough - small sandy bits that hold together if you try to roll them into a ball. If it's not quite holding together, just add a little more agave. Set aside.

Yup - I went Old School! Mortar and Pestle Baby!
For the Chocolate Base:
1 TBS cashew butter you made earlier
2 TBS coconut oil
1-2 TBS agave, coconut nectar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc.
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 heaping TBS cocoa powder
pinch of salt

In a small saucepan, over low heat, gently melt the coconut oil, cashew butter,  cocoa powder and agave, whisking until melty and smooth. Add the salt and vanilla extract, stir, and set aside.

Lovely, Melty Chocolate
For the Mint Filling:
1/4 cup cashew butter you made earlier (or whatever is remaining)
1/2 tsp mint extract

Mix the mint extract into the cashew butter.

To Assemble:

(If you're chocolate looks like it's started to solidify - just place it back on the stove for a minute, to re-melt the chocolate)

Using either a mold, or mini cupcake liners (should make about 6), fill the bottom's of the mold/liners about 1/3 - 1/2 full, and using your spoon, try to coat the sides of the mold/liners with chocolate. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Chocolate in the bottom of the Molds
Roll the mint filling into small balls, and then flatten them in the palm of your hand to create a small disk. Continue until you have as many disks as you have molds to fill.

Mint Disks
Pull the molds out of the freezer - believe it or not, they should be hardening by now - and place a mint "disk" in the center of each mold/liner. Spoon more chocolate on over the "disk" to completely cover - make sure you get in all the cracks.

Filling in Chocolate Cups
Covered Completely in Chocolate :)

Place back in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from freezer, and attempt to pop out of the mold onto a clean counter, or cutting board. They should come out without much fuss - but if you're having trouble, just keep applying pressure - the heat from your hand should help them loosen up. Devour. Store any survivors in the freezer - as the chocolate does get rather melty if left out.

Mini Cups from the Chocolate Mold
Large Cupcake Liner Cup

Nut-Full Chocolate Cups

1 Recipe Chocolate Base

1 TBS roasted almonds, chopped
1 TBS coconut flakes
1 TBS pistachio nuts, chopped

Since I'd already used up all of my cashew butter in the first batch of chocolates, I substituted 1 TBS of almond flour (since it has a fairly mild flavor) for the cashew butter in the chocolate- and it turned out quite well! I imagine adding smooth peanut butter would be quite delicious - especially with a peanut nougat..... mmmmm.....

So everything else was the same here - except that once I filled the the molds/liners half way full of chocolate, I added a sprinkling of chopped nuts  - half with the roasted almonds, and half with the pistachios. Then, spooned the remaining chocolate over the nuts. I topped the roasted almond chocolates with the shredded coconut, and the pistachio chocolates with more chopped pistachios - so that I could tell them apart. Freeze for 15-20 minutes, then pop out, eat, and store.

Mmm Chocolate!

Pistachio & Roasted Almond Coconut Chocolates


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Coconut Mango Banana Ice Cream

vegan (of course), gluten-free, date sweetened, Celiac friendly


First a little story (well, a rather long one), then some ice cream. 

When I was 7 years old, my best friend in the world was Melissa. We did everything together: we went to school together, played together, and presented a united front against our annoying brothers. We cooked disgusting, though imaginative concoctions and attempted to find test subjects for our chocolate clam pudding (pre-vegan days, of course). We played doctor - no, not that kind of doctor! - and she let me perform the appendectomies, brain transplants, and blood letting via leaches (well, raisins) I was so keen to try. We even tried to build a swimming pool in the back of her dad's pick-up truck one hot Texas summer. Rarely would you see one of us without the other. That is, until we were nine, and my family moved, not just down the street, but across the Atlantic Ocean. For the first few years, we wrote each other every week - I still have all of her letters in a box covered in Lisa Frank stickers. Her family even came to visit us while we lived overseas. But then, we slowly grew apart. My family kept moving, and we'd send each other the occasional letter or email, and see each other once every few years. My family moved back to the area where her's has always lived about 7 years ago - but by then we were both getting ready to head off to colleges in separate states, and had little time to rekindle old friendships.

And then there's now! Almost 16 years after I first moved away, we've once again become very good friends. We now work together, teaching at a small private school, and talk about food non-stop throughout our day. It's strange, but rather wonderful, because it feels as if those 16 years have made no difference at all. We get along easily, and have a shared history - something I don't have with many people. 

We also have several things in common when it comes to food - first of all, we both love food, and food blogs, of course, and could spend hours oogling beautiful glossy pictures of food :). We are both very concerned with where our food comes form and how it's processed. We also both follow very specific diets and lifestyles. I live a vegan lifestyle - I do not consume meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, or any animal products or by-products, I don't use products that are tested on animals, nor do I wear or buy items made of silk, wool, leather etc.  Melissa recently discovered that she has Celiac Disease, and has converted to a low sugar, gluten-free diet, and also, after doctor recommendation, gone Paleo. You've probably heard about it - it's currently the new diet craze, and I believe it's followers avoid all grains, diary, legumes, processed sugars and oils, etc. - but I am by no means a Paleo expert. Anyway, this means that she's had to drastically alter the way she thinks about and consumes food.  Lots of gradual changes, learning, and imagination. As I've mentioned before, I'm currently trying to break my addiction to sugar (it calls my name!), and Melissa's been a great source of inspiration in that department -with recipe's like this fantastic ice cream, that make removing sugar a breeze. So anyway - there's a bit of history for you - whether you wanted it or not.

You do need an ice cream maker for this recipe- but if I didn't already have one, I'd probably go out and buy one just to make this recipe - it's that good. Plus, though I do love me some Nada Moo and Almond Dream, I actually think this tastes better, and it's far more economical than paying $5 for a pint of vegan ice cream. Plus, this ice cream contains no processed sugars! I can blend up a batch, stick it in the ice cream maker while I'm making dinner, and have fresh ice cream an hour later for desert. Which is pretty freaking sweet. And yes, I know, it contains coconut milk - notorious for it's high fat/saturated fat content - however, from all the research I've done, it seems pretty clear that these are considered the good types of fats (in moderation, as always), and there's only a cup of it in a batch that makes about 6 servings (depending on just how hungry you are :).
This is Melissa's recipe and it is truly amazing. Once you get the base down, you can basically add anything you want - here I simply added mango and banana for this creamy, tropical treat. But the possibilities are endless :) It's sweet, creamy and free of guilt - Enjoy!

Coconut Mango Banana Ice Cream

  • 1 cup of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 5 Medjool Dates, pits removed
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 fresh mango, peeled and cut into chunks - or 1 cup frozen mango chunks, thawed
  • 1 ripe banana

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 TBS raw almonds, crushed
  • Mix together

To Make the Ice Cream
Put all ice cream ingredients into a blender. Blend the ingredients until only small flecks of the dates, mango, and banana remain. Give it a taste and adjust sweetness if need be - you can add another date or two, or a few drops of stevia. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker, following the manufacturers directions.

Mix in 2/3ds of the coconut/almond mixture after the ice cream is set and ready to eat. Top with the remaining coconut/almond mixture and serve! 

Chocolate Roasted Almond, Mint Chocolate Chip, Cherry Lime-Aid, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice cream recipe's to come! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Post #1: Red Beans and Rice Burgers

I don't know about you, but I absolutely love red beans and rice. Smokey, slow cooked red beans served over fragrant brown rice - mmmmmm. So here's my attempt at a hand-held version. And these turned out pretty darn tasty - they still need a bit of work - they don't hold together quite well enough for my tastes just yet (I've added two TBS of water mixed in with the flax seeds to the recipe posted below - which hopefully should help). But they were very flavorful, hearty, and really hit the spot. Great on their own, with a bit of ketchup, or served over a nice green salad. All in all, a very successful first go! I hope you enjoy :)

Red Beans and Rice Burgers

makes 8 patties

1 tsp coconut oil
15 ounce can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, preferably warm
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 TBS ground flax or chia seeds + 2 TBS water - mixed
1 tsp chili powder (I also added ½ tsp Chipotle Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning)
1 tsp paprika
1 small red onion, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
1/2 cup chopped spinach, kale, or collards (fresh or frozen, and thawed)
1/4 tsp salt
fine black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375.

In a small saute pan, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the red onion and celery, and saute until lightly browned - about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and chopped spinach (only if using fresh), and saute for a few more minutes to wilt.

In a medium sized bowl, add the kidney beans and rice, and mash with a potato masher or fork until about 3/4 of the mixture is mashed. You want a fairly pasty texture. Add in the remaining ingredients, and combine using a fork or a pair of clean hands (I usually opt for hands :). Taste for seasoning.

I formed the mixture into 8 medium sized burgers, about 3/4" thick - but you could easily make them into 4 larger patties. I leave you to your own devises here! Place burgers on a baking sheet lightly greased with coconut oil, and bake for 20 minutes - flipping after the first 10. They should be slightly crispy, golden, and fragrant. Remove from oven, and serve! 

Hi there! Welcome to Vegan She Wrote!

I have been living a vegan lifestyle for the past nine years, and I cannot imagine my life any other way. Cooking is a central part of my life. I am currently attempting to break my addictions to sugar and gluten. I'm not exactly trying to cut them out completely, but I am trying to drastically reduce the amounts I consume. It's a hard battle, but I'm actually feeling quite inspired by the creative challenges it poses for an avid baker. Almond flour is a pretty nifty thing.

Anyway, so welcome. Here I hope to share recipe's of my own creation, my attempts to veganize old favorites, and my reviews of the recipes I try to re-create from the many, many (many, many, many, many) blogs I am currently obsessed with. I try to make good food. Food that is always vegan, as fresh and local as possible, un-processed, and whole. And full of love - always full of love :)