Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to Survive Your First Vegan Superbowl Party:

We all know the usual Superbowl fare: wings, burgers, and loaded nachos. If you need cholesterol, you know where to go. But here's the deal...you really don't have to worry about not being able to eat at a Superbowl party. I've compiled a short list of tips and recipes to ensure that the big game will be enjoyable and delicious.

If you're going to a friend's party, all you have to do is take one or a few of these different, easy-to-make, and budget-friendly recipes. They sure are tasty. Just make sure that you bring enough of each because everyone is going to want some. If you're feeling lazy, just take store-bought chips and salsa.

If you're having your own party, my favorite idea for food is to have a nacho or taco bar. That way everyone can pick whatever toppings they want. You can have all different kinds of beans, veggies (tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, etc.) , salsas, and vegan cheeses. Another quick and easy idea is chili or tortilla soup. Throw all the ingredients in your crock pot the morning of and let it cook itself, or make a quick batch on the stove in about a half an hour. The bean burritos are also a delicious option. You could always include them in your nacho/taco bar.

Here's the list of recipes:
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that all of this food will be gone before the party ends. Have fun, and enjoy the last NFL game until preseason starts in August.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vegan Bean Burritos & Avocado Lime Guacamole:

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can easily customize it. I think that jalapenos would be a very nice addition, as well as salsa or rice. You could also substitute black beans or chickpeas for the refried beans. These burritos are  definitely filling and delicious. You can definitely get your protein fix here. Your omni friends and family won't miss the meat at all, promise. Also, I would've preferred to use flour tortillas, but I only had spinach wraps at the time. Just use your favorite kind of tortillas.

Guacamole:

Ingredients:

1 avocado, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. lime juice
Pinch of salt

Instructions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor. Process until nice and smooth.

Burritos:

Ingredients:

1 (15.5 oz.) can refried beans
1 tomato, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 tsp. water
1/4 tsp. salt
4 flour tortillas
1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (optional)
Hot sauce (to taste)

Instructions:

1. Add 2 tsp. of the olive oil, the onion, and the garlic to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until soft and a little browned, about 10 minutes. Add the 2 tsp. of water if the onions get too dry while cooking.

2. Once the onions and garlic are soft, stir in the refried beans, salt, a dash of hot sauce, and remaining 1 tsp. of olive oil. Continue cooking on medium heat until heated through, about 5 minutes.

3. Once the beans are ready, assemble the burritos. Fill the middle of each tortilla with the refried beans (add whatever else you want in there: more hot sauce, salsa, peppers, etc.), and fold.

4. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook one burrito at a time, on each side until browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Mix the sour cream and some hot sauce together. Top the burritos with the guacamole, tomatoes, and sour cream/hot sauce mixture.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Barley Citrus and Tomato Salad:

Sorry for the lack of posts. I was out of town over the weekend, and today, I have been dealing with a cluster headache or migraine for the entire day (not sure which it is, but it sure does hurt). As a result, I am much farther behind than I anticipated. I've tried everything to get rid of this thing: Motrin, ginger water, hot tea, ice, ear drops, a hot shower, sleep, TV (Yes, The Bachelor), vitamin b2...I even ate raw garlic, all to no avail. Oh well. You know what they say, tomorrow's another day. I'm finally starting to feel a bit better, so I couldn't help but post. (It's better than starting school work).

Anyways, this salad has a crisp, refreshing citrus flavor, with the surprising comfort of barley and garlic hidden in there. The pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch, while the cumin lends a hint of Mediterranean flavors. It's a nice and fresh meal that will definitely keep you feeling satisfied and healthy. Hope you like it.

Ingredients:

2 cups water 
1 cup barley, uncooked
1 tomato, diced
1 orange, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup yellow or red onion, thinly diced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Dash of fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. lemon zest 
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, divided (or to taste)
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of paprika
Dash of cumin

Serves 2.
Total Cook Time: 20 minutes. 

Instructions:

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the barley, 1/4 tsp. of salt, and fresh garlic. Continue cooking until the water is absorbed, about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. While the barley is cooking, chop up your veggies. Add the diced tomato, orange, onion, parsley, and basil to a medium bowl. Mix together. Add in the lemon juice, lemon zest, pumpkin seeds, 1/4 tsp. salt, cayenne, paprika, and cumin. Toss to coat.

3. Once the barley is cooked, stir it in with the salad, or you can just serve the salad on top of the barley.

Does anyone know of any good (and easily-accessible) home remedies for cluster headaches or migraines? Though I rarely have to deal with headaches like this, it would be nice to have something on-hand to help on days like today. I'm sure it would also be helpful to share with those who have to deal with these crippling headaches on a daily basis.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Vegan Healthy Green Soup:

Ingredients:

3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 yellow onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup water
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk (I use Almond Breeze)
2 veggie bouillons
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
Dash of cayenne pepper

Instructions:

1. Add the celery, onions, parsley, garlic, olive oil, and salt to a large pot. Heat on medium-high heat until a little charred and tender, about 7 minutes.

2. Transfer the veggies to a food processor. Add in about half of the water, and process until the mixture is smooth. 

3. Once the mixture is smooth, transfer it back to the large pot. Stir in the remaining water, almond milk, veggie bouillons, and cayenne. Bring the soup mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 20 to 25 minutes. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vegan Chocolate-Covered Strawberries with Valentine's Day Sprinkles:

These chocolate-covered strawberries will surely sweeten your day, and as per usual, they're surprisingly easy to make. Aren't they just so pretty? You may need to add more almond milk to obtain the correct chocolate consistency, but I used a little too much (1/3 cup).  Though these still turned out to be good, the chocolate didn't quite set the way that I wanted it to. Consequently, I reduced the amount of almond milk in the recipe to two tablespoons. Also, baker's chocolate is not very sweet, so add the sugar to taste. I liked the more bitter, dark-chocolate flavor, but feel free to use more sugar if you want a more milky and sweet chocolate. I was running low on time, so I didn't double dip them, but if you want a thicker layer of chocolate, dip the strawberries a second time after they've dried and then add the sprinkles.

Ingredients:

2 (16oz.) boxes of fresh strawberries, rinsed and patted dry
6 squares baker's chocolate (read ingredients to make sure there's no dairy by-products)
About 1/3 cup sprinkles
2 tbsp. plain unsweetened almond milk
3 tsp.  white sugar or agave nectar (or to taste)*
Pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

1. Set wax paper out on a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet. Add the baker's chocolate squares to a small saucepan. Heat on medium heat while whisking in the almond milk and sugar/agave. Keep heating and whisking until the chocolate is a smooth consistency, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Pour the chocolate into a small bowl. (Try to find one that's just deep enough to dip the strawberries). Dip each strawberry in the chocolate individually, allowing the excess chocolate to drip off.

3. After each individual dip in chocolate, sprinkle each strawberry with your sprinkles, and set them on the wax paper.

4. Let dry on the counter for a half an hour. You can then either eat them or refrigerate/freeze them for later.

Monday, January 21, 2013

EATING OUT AS A VEGAN:


If you’ve been vegan for a while, you know the drill. You sit down with a group of friends or family at a non-vegan restaurant, and all of a sudden, just about everyone at the table’s eyes are on you. At least one person is reading the menu to you, saying, “Oh look, you can eat (insert fancy salad here),” while you’re thinking, “Please don’t say salad. Please don’t say salad.” And once everyone has stopped chirping in your ears and you've finally gotten a second to look at the menu, everyone’s eyes are on you again because they’re all ready to order, and you’re not. 

While you know that they are just being considerate and trying to help you out, it can sometimes make eating out frustrating. It only gets more frustrating the longer you’ve been a vegan. People tend to think that it’s new to you all the time. No one really cares if you’ve been a vegan for one day or five years. It’s new and intriguing to them, so they just consider it the same for you. 

So, all I can say for this part is to be patient and be considerate of what they’re saying. Though you’ve known that you can eat the veggie panini sans cheese for quite some time now, whoever is telling you is just trying to help. I, myself, am working on this because I tend to get impatient at restaurants (I have to tone down my use of the phrase, “I know!”). 

Also, though you may be like me and think you’re a know-it-all, someone may see something on the menu that you didn’t see or think of, so you should try to listen, even if all you want is peace and quiet so that you can read the menu on your own. 

SLOPPY JOE'S ⋆ CAPTAIN TONY'S ⋆ AMIGO'S ⋆ KEY WEST, FL
Given that most restaurant menus are full of meals laden with meat and dairy products, it can be difficult eating out as a vegan. But don’t fret. Here are a helpful few tips:
  • A lot of restaurants serving international food have vegan options: Indian and Thai restaurants generally have the most, but you should be able to find something on the menu at most Chinese and Mexican places as well. Black bean tacos and veggie fajitas are among my favorite dishes.
  • Make sure to order no butter. You can always have your food cooked in oil if you want to achieve the same sort of flavor as butter.
  • If ordering pasta with marinara sauce, ask if they use chicken or beef broth in the sauce. Also make sure that there's no cheese or butter in the sauce. You can always order pasta with olive oil, garlic, and whatever vegetables you want. Italian restaurants are particularly good at aglio olio sauces, but ask for crushed red or black pepper if your dish needs a little extra umph to it. I like to get bowties or linguine with greens and tomatoes. 
  • If you're eating bread, ask the waitress for olive oil. You can make a simple dip with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. You can also just dip your bread in salad dressing. 
  • When choosing something on the menu, I generally opt for a pasta, a vegetable sandwich with fries, or a veggie pizza with no cheese...but if neither one’s  an option, I either get a salad with fries or a bunch of sides off of the side menu.
  • If you really can't find anything on the menu, tell your server that you're vegan, and he or she will tell the chef. The chef should be obliged to make you something. 
*This is a non-exhaustive list of tips. There are many other ways of dealing with going to non-vegan restaurants. It's more of a learn-as-you-go type of thing, but I would have been very glad to have had these tips when I first went vegan. Hope they help!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Product Review: Amy's Rice Macaroni With Dairy Free Cheese:

Gluten Free ⋆ Dairy Free ⋆ Soy Free

While perusing the frozen food section the other day, I came across Amy's Gluten Free Dairy Free Rice Macaroni & Cheese. I've been wanting to try it out for awhile, but I never remember to look for it.

Needless to say, I finally broke down and bought it, though I know that I can make vegan mac and cheese much healthier and for about a third of the price. This turned out to be the real deal, though. If you're ever feeling a little mischievous, this mac and cheese is for you. They used Daiya Dairy Free Cheddar Cheeze in the sauce, which, in my opinion (and I'm pretty sure many others in the vegan community agree), is one of the best dairy free cheeses on the market.

I was a little disheartened when I turned the box and looked at the nutrition facts, however. 520 calories for one serving? 22 grams of fat? That was a bit of a bummer, but I was surprisingly pretty full half way through eating it. To make it a little healthier, I steamed some broccoli and carrots with a little olive oil and salt and added them to the dish. It was delicious. The richness of the "cheese" sauce will make you feel satisfied and fuller faster, but the rice macaroni helps in not weighing you down....and it does have 8 grams of protein, after all. Not too shabby.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who's feeling the need for quick and easy comfort food. It really does taste like mac and cheese.

Where I found it: Publix freezer section.
Price: $3.29


Saturday, January 19, 2013

30-Minute Skillet Pasta:

This recipe is for those days when you just don't have the time, energy, or motivation to cook,  but still need something delicious to eat. This meal disproves the myths that you have to sacrifice flavor for convenience, and that you need to use a lot of dishes in order to cook a good, vegan meal. Hope you like it. Feel free to play around with the sauce a little...a little apple cider vinegar would give it a nice bite, and a little more sugar or agave will please you lovers of sweeter tomato sauces.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups uncooked shell pasta
1 can petite diced tomatoes (15.5 oz.) + 2 cans of water
1 cup greens of your choice
1 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. white sugar or agave nectar
A few drops of lemon juice

Total Cook Time: 30 minutes.
Serves 4

Instructions:

Add all of the ingredients to a cast iron skillet. Stir until the veggies, pasta, and seasonings are blended well. Bake for 25 minutes, taking the skillet out of the oven to stir at least twice. (To make sure the greens don't burn). 



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Adventures in Vegan Cheese Making: Vegan Cashew Cheese Ball:


While making this "cheese," I set out to achieve that sour, cheesy flavor. It worked. To me, this cheese tastes a little like goat cheese, but with a little bit of a softer texture. This recipe would be perfect for a cheese plate at your next party (and it's totally acceptable to enjoy it all to yourself). 

Also, don't fret if you don't have a cheesecloth. You can always put it in a jar and eat it how you would any other cashew cheese. You don't even have to let it sit out overnight if you don't want to. The sauerkraut starter will still lend a sour flavor.

After letting the cheese sit out overnight, I placed it in the fridge for a few hours, and then I shaped it into a ball and rolled it in sesame seeds, fresh parsley, and a little bit of orange zest.

Needless to day, after taking these pictures, I quickly gobbled up half of this cheese with some cucumbers. It was a nice, healthy snack that made me happy. Hope it makes you happy as well!

Ingredients:

2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour 
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 to 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tbsp. coconut oil (you can use canola oil as well)
1 1/2 tbsp. sauerkraut starter (the juice from raw sauerkraut)*
2 tsp. sesame tahini
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt 
Dash of smoked paprika
Dried herbs (optional, to taste)

Toppings for the Cheese Ball:

2 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. orange zest (or more)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Easy Vegan Banana Mango Smoothies:


Happy Monday everyone! Unfortunately, I'm busy with school stuff, but because I'm putting off reading for class, I figured that I'd take a quick break to post this recipe.

I was surprised with how well this recipe turned out. If someone bottled up sunshine and a little bit of the beach, this is how it would taste. Even though it's more of a summer smoothie, I'm sure that it will transport all of you who are stuck in the cold to a day at the beach, even if only for a brief moment. For those of us enjoying the sun and sand, consider these smoothies another perk. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, no matter where you are, one of these smoothies will surely brighten your Monday.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Quick & Easy Vegan Black Bean Burgers:


Veggie burgers are surprisingly easy to make. Because I was starving and impatient while I was making these, I decided to make them in one of their most basic forms. They turned out delicious. I may have to triple this recipe and freeze them so that they're ready to pop in the oven every time I'm craving one (which I'm sure will be very often). 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Adventures in Vegan Cheesemaking: Vegan Muenster Cheese:

 I know you guys love vegan cheese recipes, so here's another! This is a mild cheese. It tastes a little like muenster cheese, or at least like muenster and provolone had a baby. Hope you like it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vegan Chili-Roasted Chickpeas


These roasted chickpeas are so delicious. Whip them up for a quick snack, add them to any salad for flavor and crunch, or blend them together in your food processor with a little olive oil for a perfect vegan party dip. This recipe is to taste, so feel free to adjust the amounts of the seasonings or omit the cayenne if you're not a fan of spicy foods.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Healthy Vegan Personal Pan Pizza with Cashew Cheese and Cucumbers:


All that I can say about this one is..."YUM!" Haha. Anyways, if you're looking for a fluffy and delicious pizza that you can have all to yourself, look no further. Make the dough the night before and leave out for a few hours to re-rise for extra fluff. My little sister didn't like the cucumber on it, but I thought that it gave the pizza a fresh flavor. Obviously, you can use whatever ingredients you'd like, but I do really love how the sour flavor of the mild pepper rings compliments the flavor of the nutty cashew cheese. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Vegan Detox Soup:

Now that the holidays are over, I'm thinking that most of you are feeling like me and need a little detox from all of the holiday binging, so here's an easy detox soup recipe for you. I like it because it's easy, and it still has a lot of flavor.

NOTE: This soup has not been proven to detox your body, but it will make you feel better! ☺

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups water
2 cups yellow onions, sliced
1 1/2 cups celery, sliced
3/4 cup white cooking wine
1/4 cup scallions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Coarse Kosher salt (or to taste)
Drop of olive oil (for a little extra flavor)
Dash of paprika
Teeny dash of cayenne
Green onions, sliced (for garnish)

Instructions:

1. Add the onions, celery, scallions, garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt to a large pot. Heat on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of the water, the cayenne, and the paprika.

2. Continue cooking another 7 minutes or so, until the vegetables are pretty soft. Add in the remaining water, cooking wine, salt, and lemon juice. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 20 minutes or so. Garnish with the green onions and serve.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year 2013:


I know that this post is a little late (I was skiing over New Years and greatly needed a nap yesterday), but I still wanted to post about the new year.

2012 was a year of loving, learning, and adventure for me. It was full of new friends, new places, and new experiences. Though I wish that I could undo a few things, 2012 was a year of momentous highs with very few lows. In 2012, I traveled the world, made lots of new friends, kicked my dairy addiction, made a fool out of myself a few times, danced whenever I felt like it, embraced “why not?” as my mantra, gained a new nickname/alter ego, ran around the beach in a forever lazy with tons of people watching, mustered up the courage and will to start this blog, jumped off cliffs in Mallorca, watched futbol in Spain, drank Pilsner in Prague, jammed out in Vienna, partied in Madrid, studied the law on the other side of the Atlantic, lived in El Escorial for another month, took a train to Barcelona, went boating on Lake Erie, chilled out in Key West, let go of the past, made it through another 3 semesters of law school, cooked my heart out, wrote a lot on  wide variety of subjects, camped out a few times, finally made it out to the ski resort again, made a few mistakes, jumped into a freezing cold river, fell down and got back up, went to some awesome concerts, road tripped 18 hours straight through the night, got into trouble, hopped on a Greyhound bus on a whim, gave back a little, and, most importantly, I loved wholeheartedly.


This new year already promises to be full of even more adventures and learning experiences than the past year. In 2013, I will enter into a new chapter of my life, I will graduate from law school, become an attorney, move out of Florida and back to my home state, and, like always, I plan to cook and travel. I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, but here are some goals that I have for myself for 2013 (in no particular order):
    • Graduate from law school. 
    • Become an attorney (aka: pass the Bar Exam).
    • Get a good job.
    • Keep expanding upon and working on this blog.
    • Visit one of my best friends in Colorado.
    • Travel to at least 2 new countries.
    • Give back.
    • Go on another US road trip.
    • Embrace new opportunities while moving on from the past.
    • Don’t let the little things get to me.
    • Be happy.
    • Keep setting the world on fire. 
  
I hope that you all have a wonderful 2013! ❤❤❤



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