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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

22 Dec

Why is it the most wonderful time of the year? We get to celebrate Jesus’ birth. We get to eat great food with family and friends. We get to indulge a little. We get to share joy with others. We get to give to others, and try to find peace amidst the craziness of the season.

I had to make Christmas cookies, after all it is tradition and I am all about sticking to tradition. This year I adapted, created and baked some great vegan cookies! They were all definitely not as healthful as I usually would make, but I allowed a little more sugar for this occasion. But yes it is absolutely possible to eat healthy during the holiday. It’s not giving up anything, just making things your own. In a “lighter” way. Not “lighter” giving up fats, but lighter in a sense of real ingredients. Real foods.

Perfect Pecan Cookies

Recipe here.

I actually followed this recipe to the T, since I made them with Karly when we had a tea date at my house (: They turned out wonderfully, soft and not too too sweet, great flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almond Crescent Shortbread

These were excellent, tasted like shortbread. A little too much sugar for me, but I love the strength of the almond flavor in these cookies.

  • 2  cups spelt flout
  • 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Beat softened butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy, add vanilla and almond extract. Add dry ingredients to wet, and blend until combined. Work dough on floured surface and lightly knead. Then scoop balls of dough and shape into crescent shapes and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Minty Double Chocolate-Carob Cookies

  • 1/3 c. coconut oil (not melted, but room temperature)
  • scant 1/2 c. raw sugar or sucanant
  • 1 flax egg (1 T. flax meal mixed with 3 T. water)
  • 1/2 c. almond or spelt flour
  • 1/4 c. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 oz. carob chips
  • 1 tsp mint/peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat the coconut oil and sugar until well combined then add in flax the flax egg and mix well.

Sift the spelt flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix into wet ingredients. Add a tiny bit of water if the batter seems too dry. Stir in the carob chips. Form into disc shapes, about 1 Tbs per cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes. These will expand/flatten. Cook completely before serving. These may be prone to getting crumbly-but they would be perfect on top of some cashew or almond ice cream!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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The Worst of the Worst

11 Dec

I am continually disgusted…..Read how Monsanto is harming our health and world.

–> Monsanto

Happy Vegan Thanksgiving!

4 Dec

Lauren and I made a delicious vegan Thanksgiving of our own-but we shared (:

On the Menu:

Sweet Potato Casserole

Mushroom Walnut Stuffing

Cranberry Sauce

Carrot Souffle

Rosemary Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Pumpkin Pie

Raw Carrot Cake & Chocolate Coconut Balls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sweet potatoes were AMAZING! Perfectly sweet, but not too much. The key is to let the sugar naturally come out of the “hole forks” while the potatoes are baking in the oven. I used the whole potato, with skins (only if organic) to retain all the nutrients including the fiber. Using sucanat (the raw-est sugar you can find) allows you to use only a little, because it goes a long way.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:

4 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled (only if organic)  and cooked
2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance) OR 1.5 Tbs melted Coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbs almond milk
1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Topping:

4 TBA cup Earth Balance or Coconut Oil
1/4 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/3 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat) (or gluten-free)
3/4 cups chopped pecans
additional cinnamon
(unsweetened coconut sprinkled on top-optional
Directions: Bake sweet potatoes in oven at 424 for 45min to an hour depending on their size. They natural sugars should crystallize our of the “fork holes”. Then Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish with coconut oil. I wipe a bit on with a paper towel.

*For the topping first (so you don’t have to clean the vitamix twice!)

Add coconut oil (or vegan margarine) to vitamix then add the rest of the ingredients (Except pecans) Blend until combine then add pecans to lightly chop. Set aside in bowl

*For sweet potatoes: Cut in Half or quarter  baked sweet potatoes and add sweet potatoes with skins (if organic) to Vitamix. Blend just to mash it up some with the tamper. Add melted coconut oil, almond milk, maple, vanilla salt, and spices until well combined. If the consistency is too think add almond milk, if too thin add a little ground oats (oat flour) or ground flax if desired. Pour into casserole dish. Top with Topping and bake 350 for 50 minutes! Enjoy!

Carrot Souffle

  • 7  cups  chopped carrot (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/4  cup  sucanat
  • 1/4  cup  fat-free sour cream or less
  • 3  tablespoons  all-purpose flour (I use half whole wheat)
  • 2  tablespoons  coconut oil, melted
  • 1  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 2 Tbs ground flax or chia with 6 Tbs warm water

 

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook carrot in boiling water 15 minutes or until very tender, drain. Place carrot in a food processor or vitamix; process until smooth. Mix ground flax or chia with warm water and let sit for a few minutes in a seperate bowl. Add  sugar and next 7 ingredients to the cooked carrots; pulse to combine.

Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until lightly brown on top. These will be soft and a little wet-so it is more like a cooked carrot dish than a souffle, but it is still delicious (:

Pumpkin Pie

The recipe for the FILLING is from here

The recipe for the spelt CRUST is from here

Carrot Cake Balls: 2 large carrots, splash of carrot juice, grated ground ginger, raw almonds, dates, cinnamon, nutmeg. Blend in vitamix and roll in oats. Keep in freezer.

Chocolate Coconut Balls: Raw cashews, dates, cocoa powder, cinnamon, dash of vanilla. Blend in vitamix and roll in unsweetened coconut. Keep in freezer.

new Whole Foods!!

17 Oct

So the same day of Vegfest I also got to go into the brand new Whole Foods in Foggy Bottom! Yes it was the best day ever. I knew there was a  new one in Foggy Bottom but didn’t even think about how that was the metro stop we were getting off at to go to Vegfest at George Washington University. Colleen and I stepped off the escalator from the metro and there it was right in front of us, a block away. I screamed with excitement.

 

This is the best Whole Foods I have ever seen-it was crazy. My goal is to go to all the Whole Foods on the east coast

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There was bulk/dispense-it-yourself EVERYTHING from organic maple syrup & agave to apple cider vinegar & 3 different grades of honey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I buy as much as possible in bulk. It is almost always cheaper, less processing, you get exactly how much of something you need-so it’s not wasteful, and no packaging-so its way more economical and helps with less waste to go in landfills. Packaging materials make up 30% of all our waste. This is sooo preventable, and such an easy solution! Remember to re-use your bags as much as possible! For spices and dried herbs you save a TON of money. Here when I go to Eats you can just bring your empty spice jar and fill it up with organic spices for maybe a couple of dollars opposed to $10 or $12 to buy a whole new jar. Why don’t more people do this??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the upper floor there is an abundant spread of vegan (and non-vegan) breads, pastries, and desserts. There is a huge espresso & GREEN smoothie/juice bar!!!! I was thrilled. Then there is a huge prepared food section with a cold and hot bar with an array of different kale salads and raw veggie platters to steel cut oats and fresh fruit. They have a mini food court but it is all actually REAL food offered! It was just so exciting. There was actually a huge sign hanging from the ceiling above the place where you could make you own custom sandwich that said “REAL FOOD SERVED HERE” with a giant arrow. They have electronic ordering stations (like at Sheetz).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I do not prefer to support huge chain grocery stores, to keep the local health food stores in business, Whole Foods is my one exception. If there has to be monopolizing companies and agrobusinesses, Whole Foods is okay, because they are doing things right. They have standards they live up to, holding their employees to these, as well as their food. They support other local business and make it a point to always have local produce available. They make the effort to bring farm to fork a little closer. There are signs of the stories & information about some of the local farms right above the product, explaining the farms background and where they are located. Plus they strive to educate consumers where their food comes from, how it is produced (sometimes), and the nutrition. Most locations offer free classes ranging from raw foods & bone scans to proper skin care & cooking with kids. I’ve always said I wanted to work for Wholefoods.

My updated dream= be an RD in integrative and functional nutrition for Whole Foods, traveling to all the locations across the country to educate the employees & customers and make sure the store is living up the standards they set. (This role does not exist right now, but it could happen)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colleen’s coco green smoothie & my wheat grass shotCheers to good health!

The second best time of the year is here!

1 Oct

Okay so Christmas definitely comes 1st, but the 2nd best time of the year is fall! It is by far my favorite season for so many reasons. I love the weather, the trees, the colors, the months, and of course  pumpkins, squash, apples, chestnuts and sweet potatoes! (I have had a baked sweet potato with raw almond butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chopped pecans for lunch every day the past week haha)  I am obsessed with pumpkin (and sweet potato)  everything, literally. I use the 2 interchangeably in different things.

I have already made pumpkin lattes, vegan pumpkin bars, walnut pumpkin butter, pumpkin granola, pumpkin overnight oatmeal , and I have such a long list of pumpkin things to make.

I’ve had pumpkin overnight oats for breakfast three days a week, on the morning I have 8 am classes. It is perfect breakfast the night before I throw in some oats, chia or ground flax, unsweetened vanilla almond milk. cinnamon, nutmeg, some pumpkin pie spice, walnuts or almond, raw pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin! It saves so much time in the morning, I just pull it out of the fridge and take it to class. Sitting overnight the oats really soak up the flavor of the spices, and the almond milk to become so creamy.

I made pretty much the same version of the oats into granola!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients (I didn’t measure so just eye it)

Oats

walnuts & almond soaked overnight

pumpkin seeds

ground flax

quinoa flakes

puffed millet

apple sauce

A little coconut oil

A lot of spices–cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, pumkin pie spice

vanilla

pumpkin!

I baked at 350 for about 45 minutes! Perfect on top of some almond yogurt!   Amande

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkins are part of the cucurbit (gourd) family. The cucurbit family includes pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, luffas, watermelons and melons. They are technically a fruit with over a cup of seeds on the inside! A more detailed post to come about the nutrition of this awesome orange gourd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Had some freshly made hot mulled apple cider this morning at the farmers market! There was no sugar added, and was not needed at all-it was perfectly sweet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BB farmers market is just amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natalie and I enjoying our cider and taking in the beauty of the farmers market!

reality

5 Sep

Sadly, but realistically I have had no time for the blog 😦  My schedule is back to craziness, being in involved with a few too many things. I am  taking 17 credit hours (although Microbiology should count as twice as much), I am an officer for Fitness and Nutrition club, involved in Student Dietetic Association, Sustainable Food Corps, I have a recently added Civic Agriculture and Food Systems minor, involved with Cru and my church-Northstar, and  in a Cru and Northstar bible study. Life is very good, but very busy. I will try to do a few posts whenever I find the time! I did recently make an amazing almond basil pesto & these almond, hemp, carob granola bars I wrapped up individually to take on my way out to class. I will definitely blog those two soon!

I have been so lucky to have the Blacksburg farmers market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, where I buy 75% of all my food! if not the FM, then I shop at Eats, where I am now a member with a 15% discount (: Eats is awesome, with a huge variety for being in such a small town. Their bulk is amazing, especially being a college student and maybe only needing 1/4 cup of red quinoa and not a whole bag, so it’s perfect! They even have items that Wholefoods doesn’t carry!!

I am also super excited to be putting in 10 hours of volunteer work on one of the local farms (probably the student garden at Smithfield)!

DC food adventure

4 Jul

When I was visiting my sister in Arlington, she suggested a fun place to go for dinner. We hopped on the metro and went to Adams Morgan, which is in northwest DC. It is a very cultural, lively place. There are a ton of restaurants and shops, each having a distinct ethnic flavor. There was Ethiopian, Korean, Greek, Japanese, Middle Eastern, French, cajun, El Salvadorian, and so much more. There was even a Falafel Shop that looked so cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once our indecisiveness ended of where to eat, we sat down at a Turkish place! It was a first for both of us. We got a table outside, right by the sidewalk so we could people watch the whole night-which was very entertaining.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The food was served  tapas style, which is small plates, that are typically shared among many people. We got 4 dishes and shared. I was pleasantly surprised by the food-it was excellent! We ordered stuffed grapeleaves, babaganoush(eggplant dip) with fresh bread, lentil cakes, and mixed bulgur tabouli.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes we managed to eat vegan Turkish (: It ended up to be a very fun night! We want to make it a regular trip to try the huge variety of different restaurants! It’s definitely the perfect place to broaden your food culture.