Recipe: Vegan Fruit & Nut Bars

Now that ‘B’ has returned from Europe we have been on (our version of) a health kick. We normally start our days with fruit smoothies and one of these HOMEMADE fruit and nut bars. These guys are great for protein and fiber, but they are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids - not to mention they’re delicious. They’re a perfect start to any morning or great if you need a mid-afternoon boost.


Vegan Munch’s Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars
(Note: You can also follow this recipe as a general guideline and substitute your preference of fruit/nuts/seeds) 

This recipe was baked in a 9x13 glass baking dish, however if you’re using a square 8x8 dish simply half the recipe. 

1 Cup Sliced Almonds (Toasted)
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (Toasted)
1 Cup Sunflower Seeds (Roasted/Lightly Salted)
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Tbsp Flax Meal (aka Ground Flax Seeds) 
2/3 Cup Dried Pineapple (Roughly chop)
1/2 Cup Brown Rice Syrup
1/8 Tsp Salt

  1. Mix together nuts, seeds, flax meal, salt and dried fruit until well combined. 
  2. Add Brown Rice Syrup and stir to coat
  3. Line a 9x13 baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, spray with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 325*F
  4. Dump mixture into pan and press down evenly with the back of a spoon until flat. 
  5. Bake for 18 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.



Makes 12 bars (store in airtight container)

(Source: )

Product Recommendations: Vegan Grilling 101

So, you’re vegan, and you’ve probably started to notice the recent shift in weather as well as Facebook party invites. The sun is out which means you should be too. If you’re still getting invited to BBQ’s and Grill-Outs as a Vegan, Embrace it! (Tip: If you do attend a BBQ/Grill-Out, try not to scold people or preach about veganism or it’s unlikely you’ll be invited back. Note: Stating you are vegan to someone trying to hand you an animal based product is not preaching, no matter what anyone says.)

If you live in Texas, like me, these events mean a lot of beer drinkin’ and meat eatin’. So this article is to explain just how a conscious vegan can survive while still participating in the activity.

General Cooking Tip: Be prepared, don’t assume the party will have a designated ‘meat only’ side of the grill. So either cook your items  in advance, bring your own grill brush, or ask the host beforehand if they could hold a small area for you on the grill. 

What did the Dalai Lama say to the hot dog vendor?
"Make me one with everything…"
I’m excited to say that vegan products are really starting to come a long way as far as variety is concerned. We’ve got imitation brats, imitation sausage, imitation jumbo, and you can’t really go wrong with any of them. 

My personal favorite though would have to be smart dogs. The texture is pretty accurate, they’re very simple to make, and each link is fat free and 45 calories. Hot dog eating contest anyone? (Cooking Tip: Do not let the dogs touch as they tend to stick together once heated.)

How did the jury find the hamburger? Grill-ty as charred!
Okay, remember the comment I made about 30 seconds ago about vegan products coming a long way? That may or may not apply to our options for vegan ‘burgers’. I’m really into texture when it comes to hamburger alternatives, and your run-of-the-mill Black Bean or Boca burgers really don’t do it for me. 

Of course, my good ol’ friend Amy usually has me covered, yet again. Now, I know what you’re thinking: It’s vegan AND it doesn’t have gluten OR soy - how on earth could it be any good? I don’t know, but they’re fabulous and friendly for everyone as long as they don’t have a nut allergy.

Why was the farmer arrested? He was caught beating an egg!
It’s usually a good idea to bring a couple of your own vegan snacks as well. Below I have included two of my favorites.  

Potato Angels (Vegan Alternative to Deviled Eggs)
    a bag of new potatoes, peeled and halved
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise 
    1 teaspoon yellow mustard
    1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
    dash hot sauce
    dash garlic powder
    salt and pepper, to taste
    dash turmeric , optional, for yellow color
    paprika, for dusting 

 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a cookie sheet. Coat all sides of each potato with olive oil. Place potatoes face down on prepared cookie sheet and bake until soft (time varies based on size of potatoes). 

2. While the potatoes are roasting, mix the rest of the ingredients (except paprika) together. When the potatoes are done, allow to cool a bit, and then use a sharp knife to cut into the flat side of each potato and then hollow it out with a spoon. You want to be left with a little cup-shaped potato. 

3. Add the scooped-out potato to your mayo/mustard mix and blend well. You can then fill the hollowed out potato shells with the mixture. Dust each potato with paprika. 

You can refrigerate them for later, or eat them right away like we did! Bring to a potluck and watch your friends grin with delight!

French Onion Dip (Pair with favorite chips)
    Tofutty Vegan Sour Cream
    Simply Organic French Onion Dip Mix

 1. Mix until well blended. Place in fridge until ready to serve.

(Source: veganmunch)

Come one! Come all! 

Tomorrow I will be attending the Dallas Vegan Bake Sale! If you’re from dallas I really hope to see you there. 

For this event I have baked up 132 Macadamia Snickerdoodle cookies to donate. They will be selling at $2.00 for a small bag of 4 cookies. 

Here is the recipe for all of those who can’t make it out. The original recipe comes from VeganBaking.net , but I made a couple adjustments because I wasn’t happy with the first couple of batches. Also, I didn’t do this in my adjustments, but this recipe could really benefit from a little vanilla extract. 

Ingredients
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons Non-Sweetened Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons Golden Flax Meal
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
2 ¼ cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoon Salt
1 ½ cups Sugar
1 ½ sticks Earth Balance Vegan Margarine 
¼ cup Earth Balance Vegan Vegetable Shortening
½ cup Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts

1) Preheat your oven to 375F. Prepare your rolling mixture by whisking together 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1 Tablespoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

2) In a small mixing bowl, whisk the non-dairy milk, flax meal and cream of tartar until smooth. Set aside for about 10 minutes so the mixture gets thick.

3) In a medium mixing bowl combine the all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt.

4) In another medium mixing bowl, cream together the 1 ½ cups sugar, Vegan Butter and shortening until well combined which should take about 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Add the flax mixture from Step 2 and beat until well combined, about 30 seconds.

5) Add half of the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until the mixture comes together. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix with your hands until just combined. Add the macadamia nuts and mix until they’re evenly distributed.

6) Roll the dough into 1 ½ inch diameter balls and roll them in the Rolling Mixture until coated. Transfer  to the baking sheet, making sure they’re spaced about 2 inches apart. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to squish each cookie to ¾ inch (Be wary of squishing them too thinly, or you’ll get burnt edges).

7) Bake for about 8 minutes


Store in a tightly sealed freezer bag at room temperature for up to ten days.

Makes about 30 Macadamia Snickerdoodles.

Product Recommendation: Endangered Species Chocolate

I have this theory that every single tooth in my mouth is a sweet tooth. Before becoming vegan, I ate the standard candy aisle favorites (twix, kit kat, reese’s, etc) on a regular basis. I had tried, and even enjoyed, dark chocolate before but thought it missed some of the extra FUN stuff the milk chocolate gang offered (caramel, wafer centers, peanut butter deliciousness). Well, once vegan I had to leave them all behind, and I’m glad I did because I have discovered better tasting goodies. 

Now, these dark chocolate bars ARE going to be more expensive then your impulse buy candy bars, but they come in many flavor varieties and are definitely worth it. At my local Kroger (non-specialty food store) they sell for about $3.99 for a 3oz portion. This particular brand also donates 10% of their profits to help support species, habitat, and humanity (more info about that here).

My favorite: Dark chocolate with espresso beans
 
Ingredients: Bittersweet chocolate [chocolate liquor, unbleached water-filtered beet sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla], Roasted coffee
Tastes like: Its probably obvious but chocolate covered espresso beans!


'B's favorite: Dark Chocolate with Deep Forest Mint

Ingredients: Bittersweet chocolate [chocolate liquor, unbleached water-filtered beet sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla], Natural mint flavor
Tastes Like: Thin mint girl scout cookies! 

DID YOU KNOW: That many well known chocolate companies make dark chocolate alternatives? Always read the labels, though, as MOST of these are not actually vegan! (example of dark chocolates that still contain dairy: Kit Kat Dark, Hershey’s dark chocolate, Dove dark chocolate, Any lindt bars with less than 70% cocoa).

I personally have a subscription to Vegetarian Times (Read: My boyfriend has a subscription to Vegetarian Times and I reap the benefits) but for those that don’t you can read a FREE DIGITAL ISSUE here . 
For those who have never picked up a copy: The title implies its strictly vegetarian but they do include a TON of information for vegans. Their recipes usually include how to make something vegan or are simple enough for you to figure it out on your own. Also, the ads only display things geared towards vegetarian/vegans! 
I found this digital copy really nifty, if you turn your speakers up you can even hear the sound of the pages turning! Happy Reading.
(Special Thanks to VeganRunnerGirl for the link!)

I personally have a subscription to Vegetarian Times (Read: My boyfriend has a subscription to Vegetarian Times and I reap the benefits) but for those that don’t you can read a FREE DIGITAL ISSUE here . 

For those who have never picked up a copy: The title implies its strictly vegetarian but they do include a TON of information for vegans. Their recipes usually include how to make something vegan or are simple enough for you to figure it out on your own. Also, the ads only display things geared towards vegetarian/vegans! 

I found this digital copy really nifty, if you turn your speakers up you can even hear the sound of the pages turning! Happy Reading.

(Special Thanks to VeganRunnerGirl for the link!)

(via veganrunnergirl-deactivated2013)

A really informative video on the (surprisingly simple) process of making your own nut ‘milk’! 

(Source: vimeo.com, via thegloriousvegan)

Product Recommendation: Gardein Brand Mandarin Orange Chick’n

Oh, gardein, how you never let me down. 

One night earlier this week I wanted to make my fabulous (sorry for tooting my own horn: Toot Toot) lime ‘chick’n’ tacos, which I usually accomplish with gardein products. Whilst obtaining these products, I came across this mandarin orange faux chicken. With pre-determined plans to be lazy this weekend I decided to purchase the bag, and here I am: full, fat, and happy to tell the tale. 

This definitely fit in with my plans to be lazy, as it only requires that you thaw the sauce packet in hot water, throw the frozen faux meat into a skillet with oil, and then add the sauce - all in all taking about 10 minutes. I ate mine with a cup of Jasmine Rice and was very satisfied. 

Also, the nutritional value is not all that bad. Each serving will run you about 165 calories (so nearly 495 for the entire bag) with 18g of protein per serving (54g of total protein in the entire bag!).

This only cost me around $6.00 at my local natural food store (The cupboard, Denton) and is 100% Vegan (but it does contain gluten) - So I would recommend having them on hand for nights that you’re not quite feeling take out, and dont really feel like cooking. 

Happy Munching!

(Source: )

Gadget Must-Have: Breville Juicer

I purchased this Breville 700-Watt Juicer (BJE200XL) for my boyfriend as a christmas gift this past year. When I purchased it on amazon.com the cost was $99, but unfortunately now it has gone up to $165.45 (but it’s still one of the cheaper options Breville offers). 

I highly recommend anyone interested in juicing to consider this juicer. My boyfriend and I have a lot of kitchen gadgets (we’re a couple of foodies, you should expect nothing less), yet this guy has a permanent home on our kitchen counter. He’s more compact than most juice fountains, relatively simple to clean, and utilizes most of the fruit you feed into it. And if you’ve grown up on welches fruit juices your entire life…learning what 100% juice actually tastes like will probably be enough to inspire you to buy one of these.

When this was first gifted to my boyfriend (We will label him ‘B’), we both went on a 1 week ‘Juice Fast’ inspired by the movie “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" (If you’ve seen the movie, you know we’re wimps compared to it). This is what triggered our current commitment to veganism. After 3 years of being a Vegetarian for me, I had never considered becoming a vegan, and ‘B’ had spent more than 10 years bouncing back between vegan and vegetarian. However, with the help of the juicer, we became effortlessly vegan. In fact, once we made the concrete decision to commit to the vegan lifestyle, we had already been 4 days into our fast (It’s easy to commit to something if you already have 4 days of success under your belt!)

If you’re interested in reading about real life weight loss, I recommend checking out my friends blog dedicated to juicing. She is not vegan, but provides a lot of helpful insight to what its like to incorporate juicing into daily life. 

(Source: )

Today’s newest additions to my bookshelf

Today I ran out (okay, I was sitting on amazon watching Lost) and bought a copy of ‘Appetite for Reduction’ and ‘Gluten Free Vegan’. 

Appetite for Reduction: Isa Chandra Moskowitz: $11.97 on amazon.com

This particular book was recommended to me by my friend Cirilia when I was in Seattle for my last day with of Montreal. She and her boyfriend Doug are both non-vegan/vegetarians but have really taken enjoyment from cooking these recipes. I bought the book because I havent been eating as well as I should (yes, even vegans can over eat, don’t let anyone fool you) and it provides recipes that are low in fat but filling all the same. It was also a plus that after 319 reviewers weighed in, it stands at 4.5 stars on Amazon. I’m excited to delve into it so I can write my own review of it!

The Gluten-Free Vegan: Susan O’Brien : $11.41 on amazon.com

I came across this book when I was swallowed whole by the abyss that is amazon. I, personally, am only vegan and not gluten-free but I do have two immediate family members (hi mom, hi bro) who are gluten-free (but not vegan/vegetarian). So, as you can imagine, during family dinners its pretty difficult for us to figure out a meal we can enjoy together. I chose this specific gluten-free vegan cook book (to my surprise, there were many to choose from) because it has a lot of useful information regarding general nutrition and food. Out of the 65 reviews for this book it holds strong at 4.5 stars on amazon. I cant wait to test out some of these recipes on the family!

So, if you’re interested, you should go pick up these at the links I provided. In the meantime, I’ll be working on some of the recipes and posting my favorite finds here! 

(Source: )