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You Thought You Knew Chocolate….

February 18, 2010

Oh my gosh, you guys, I have something to share with you: I found a new chocolate that is TO DIE FOR. Actually I didn’t find it, my boyfriend did. It was part of his Valentine’s Day gift to me.  For those of you who love chocolate, you need to check this stuff out: GoRaw Real Live Chocolate.

It has this rich, cocoa flavor that just melts in your mouth.  Basically, it is like heaven on earth.  It’s priced that way too, kind of, but for a special treat, it’s worth it (or if you can drop hints to your significant other, s/he might buy it for you!).

The only problem is that I want to eat it all. Now.  And since the tiny little box cost $10, I can’t in good conscience do that….which actually is probably a good thing.

Anyway, just wanted to spread the word to you fellow choc-o-holics out there!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day – a day late.  I was too busy making this cake last night to post anything. And I apologize for the quality of the photo. My camera was dead and I was too impatient (i.e. hungry for cake) to wait to charge it, so what you see here is a cell-phone picture.


Anyway, for this cake, I used the vanilla cake recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking, and I used the vanilla frosting recipe  from Insatiably Epicurious.  This frosting recipe is really good for decorating – it’s just the right consistency for it (if you care about that sort of thing).  It’s also incredibly rich and decadent.  I used vegan food coloring to make actual cake pink (sorry, no photo), and also to make some of the frosting green and pink for decorating.  This was my first attempt at making a rose on a cake!  I am trying to learn how to decorate cakes, but let me tell you: it is an ART. I seriously don’t know how really cook cake decorators do it – it’s incredibly difficult.  At any rate, my (omnivore) boyfriend told me this was the best vanilla cake he’s ever had.  Quite a compliment!

I love being able to bake something that’s (somewhat) pretty and tastes delicious, but didn’t harm any animals in the process.  I think that’s probably why it tasted so good, right??

How All Farm Animals Should Live

January 25, 2010

I recently returned from a visit to Tampa, FL, where I spent a long weekend with my sister and her husband. About 90 minutes north of Tampa is a small town called Ocala, and outside Ocala is a wonderful place that I’ve now had the pleasure of visiting twice: Kindred Spirits Sanctuary. Kindred Spirits is a non-profit farm animal sanctuary that helps neglected, abused, unwanted, or displaced farm animals. They have about 150 animal residents living on 36 acres.

Going to farm sanctuaries always fills me with a sense of peace and joy. I love seeing these beautiful, amazing animals living outdoors on pasture, enjoying the sunshine, being well-fed, and given medical treatment when needed. I love interacting with them and getting to know them. This time around, I brought treats: bags of apples and carrots, and boy did it ever make me more popular with the animals! Although the pigs did get a little mad when we left their area and moved on to the horses and donkeys – they followed us and “complained” (made lots of noises indicating their displeasure, according to the tour guide). Despite having brought what I thought was a pretty generous amount of produce, I wish I had brought much more – I could have fed them by hand all day long it was so fun!

Here are some of my photos from the visit. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend going. The owners are so friendly and welcoming, and the animals were so fun to play with. Check out the photos and Kindred Spirits’ website, and donate if you can!

Food for Life & Relief for Haiti

January 17, 2010

Two posts in one day?!  I know I just posted earlier, but I wanted to create a separate entry to let everyone know about this great organization that Mindy told me about.  (I’m sure she’d blog about it herself, but she’s currently in Florida visiting her sister & hanging out with rescued farm animals at a sanctuary!)

Of course we’ve all heard about the earthquake devastation in Haiti.  It’s heartbreaking, and we all want to do what we can to help.  If you’re like me, it can feel a little overwhelming trying to choose which charity to donate to.  After all, we want to make sure we’re supporting an effective charity where the majority of donated funds actually goes toward helping the people who need it.  And bonus if the org is vegan, right?

Well, Food for Life is a non-profit organization that brings vegetarian & vegan food to hungry people around the world.  They’re active in over 60 countries, and currently setting up operations in the Dominican Republic, where they will store food supplies to support their vegan food relief program in Haiti.  They accept donations in any amount, and even just $25 will supply 100 vegan meals to those who desperately need it!

We just wanted to pass this on in case any of you are still trying to decide how to help people in Haiti.

My New Favorite Dinner: TLT Salad

January 17, 2010

As I’ve mentioned before, I really, really love tempeh bacon (recipe here).  (Quick sidenote: Despite the fact that my last post was about tofu quiche & this post is about tempeh bacon, I actually don’t eat a whole lot of soy.  I don’t really make a point to avoid it, per se, but it’s my opinion that too much of any one thing isn’t the healthiest way to eat, and there are so many delicious plant-based foods out there that I don’t need to rely on soy!) So, that said, I’m more than willing to make some room in my diet for this tempeh bacon every now & then.

I have grown to love salads, and I love to keep them interesting.  When trying to decide what to have for dinner a few weeks back, I settled on a TLT (Tempeh, Lettuce, and Tomato) Salad using my tempeh bacon recipe.  I was very pleased with the results, so I wanted to share the idea.  It’s just a bunch of leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, mixed spring greens, or even kale), some cherry or grape tomatoes, some cubed avocado, a sprinkle of hemp seeds (optional), some tempeh bacon crumbled on top, and then everything gets a nice, generous drizzle of this Raw Cashew Ranch dressing, courtesy of the Sunny Raw Kitchen.  (I reduced the olive oil & salt, and added a bunch of fresh cracked pepper.)  My mouth was very happy while eating this!  It is interesting, delicious, and full of fiber, healthy fats & protein.  It has become a dinner (and lunch) staple for me.  Who needs a BLT sandwich when you can pack so much goodness into a salad?!

Broccoli, Spinach & Mushroom Quiche

January 10, 2010

Happy New Year, everyone!  (I know it’s over a week into 2010, but this is our first post since December, so I’m saying it, anyway!)  Hope everyone had a healthy & happy holiday season!  Now it’s back to “real life,” with no more three-day weekends until…  Memorial Day weekend in May?!  Hmph.  That’s sad.

Anywaaaaaay.

Back in my pregan (pre-vegan ;)) days, I loved quiche.  Luckily for me (and for all the egg-laying hens out there), vegan quiches are just as delicious as those of the egg variety – perhaps even moreso.

This quiche was inspired by the Broccoli Quiche recipe in Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, but as usual, I made some tweaks to suit my tastes & the ingredients I had on hand.  I didn’t have enough broccoli for the whole pie, so I chopped up what I had, and also included extra onion, about a cup of sliced mushrooms, and a couple cups of spinach.  I also added ½ c. nutritional yeast, and used my black salt instead of regular sea salt for a little extra “eggy” taste.  Oh!  And I reduced the cashews from ½ c. to ¼ c.  For the crust, I used the recipe for the Basic Pastry Crust in Veganomicon (I like that one better than the one in Vegan Brunch) – but I used almost all whole wheat pastry flour, and reduced the sugar to 1 tsp., since this was for a savory pie.

All in all, it was very easy & took less than an hour from the time I started chopping veggies to the time I took the quiche out of the oven (not including the time needed to chill the dough for the crust).  A very easy, filling, and warming dinner, which was perfect for this insanely cold January we’ve had so far!

Baked Chimichangas from Happy Herbivore

December 13, 2009

My friend Lindsay, more widely known as Happy Herbivore, is working on a cookbook and I have been lucky enough to be a tester for her recipes.  Of course I can’t share any of the actual recipes, but I wanted to give her a shout out for one of my favorite recipes so far: Baked Chimichangas!  They’re low fat, healthy, and still crispy on the outside like the deep-friend kind. In short, delicious!  Check out her blog for more information about when the cookbook will be available – and you can find lots of yummy FREE recipes there to tide you over too!

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