Archive for the ‘MOFO’ Category

Goodbye October. Goodbye Vegan MOFO.

I can’t believe today is the last day of October.  I have often said that, since becoming a mom, my life has been on fast forward.  But when you add in school and Vegan MOFO, my life is on ultra fast forward!

My goal at the beginning of vegan MOFO was to write a post every weekday.  As the month wore on, though, I decided to try for a post every day.  Except for the weekend I was at The Take Back Your Health Conference I posted every day.  (I was smart and had pre-written a few posts for the days when I really couldn’t do anything.)

So I’m proud of that.  But I’m also proud of the time I’ve spent looking at other blogs and thinking about my health.  I’m considering moving towards a gluten-free vegan diet (though I’m not quite ready yet) in order to better control my RA.  And I’ve spent some time looking at other blogs, reading cookbooks, and pondering.

So on the last day of Vegan MOFO here are some things that have caught my eye this month!

Mushroom Soup from New York in Green : I’d replace the flour with gluten free flour

No Bake Coconut Chai Oatmeal Bars from Until We Eat Again

 

Carrot Parsnip Socca from Farmers Market Vegan

 

Carrot Oat Shake from My Munchable Musings

There were so many others but these are 4 I’m especially interested in trying!

I hope you have had a wonderful October.  I hope you have discovered some new blogs to follow and some wonderful recipes to try.  And I hope you have felt some new connections in the vegan world.

I learned a few things.  I learned that I make a lot more desserts than main dishes that are worthy of sharing.  I learned that even though I don’t talk about the RA as much some of you really want to hear about it.  And I learned that I enjoy blogging more often, so I’m going to try.

Thanks for a great month.

I’ve gotten the most hits in a month on my blog, and the most hits in one day this month.  Thanks for your support and your comments.

Time to look towards American Thanksgiving and the winter holidays plus lots of cold weather and maybe a gluten-free vegan lifestyle.  Lots to come.  Thanks for being along for the ride!

More Chocolate – This Time Cake!

I’ve been posting a lot of desserts lately.  Mostly this is because a lot of my dinners are pretty basic. For example: a Sunshine burger on a bun with tomato slices and pickles, some homemade coleslaw, and corn.  There’s often not much terribly exciting to my main meals but the desserts are often more interesting.

Because, to be honest, I prefer to bake over cooking.  I’ve never been one who decorated cakes attractively or did anything fancy, but I’ve always liked to bake.  And when I only have a limited amount of energy (or spoons if you know that analogy!) I’d rather spend what I have on baking instead of cooking.

I was making the transition to vegan baking ok when T’s wheat allergy became apparent and I had to start figuring out both vegan and gluten free baking.  I’ve had quite a few failures and am finally starting to get the hang of this.  It’s as if my recent baking successes have allowed me to feel better about it and have fueled even more successes.  Call it what you will, I’m just glad it’s working!

So on a rainy day spent reading and hanging out on the net I happened upon this really cool blog called vegangela and spent some time perusing.  There are many things I want to try but the one that I jumped up and made was a variation on her Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Banana Muffins with Chickpea Flour.  I had all the ingredients but decided I didn’t want muffins again so I made it into cake.

I used soy sour cream (because I had it) and used a garbanzo/fava bean mix.  I baked it in my torte pan (which I love and rarely use) and when it came out of the oven (after baking 40 minutes) I topped it with dairy free chocolate chips.  When they had melted I spread them all over the top.

It made a really beautiful presentation in the pan and out.

We found it a little dry but it was nothing a nice glass of soy milk couldn’t cure!  While a little dry the texture was otherwise perfect so I want to play with a little more liquid/slightly different liquids to see if I can get it to exactly where I want it using just ONE flour!

E spread peanut butter on top of her cake and loved it like that, even for breakfast.  Yum.

Happy National Oatmeal Day!


So, I’m excited to share that today is National Oatmeal Day!  Ok.  I didn’t really know this until I happened to see it somewhere else on the net recently.  But oatmeal is something I love so I felt like I should definitely celebrate!

We have wheat intolerance here but oats are a-ok so I’ve used them in a lot of things.

From the very basic oatmeal type presentation:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal

To baked goods:

like Granola Bars

Or Chewy Chocolate Oat Cookies

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies With Nuts

To Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins

I do quite a bit with oatmeal as do lots of other people.  The Iron Chef Challenge #4 for Vegan MoFO includes oats in the combo.

But in honor of National Oatmeal day and the fact that I finally got home hands on some Dandies Marshmallows, I decided I needed to create something special.

Ta-Da!



S’mores Baked Oatmeal!

Now, this is not everyday breakfast fare.  But on one of those days when you think “I really want a couple of doughnuts and a soy latte” this is a good alternative.  To make sure this is gluten free use oats & baking powder that are guaranteed gluten free.

S’mores Baked Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats

2 cups instant oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/3 cup chocolate soy milk

1/4 cup melted vegan margarine

3 tbsp ground flax meal

1/4 cup warm water

1/3 cup dairy free chocolate chips

1/2 cup dandies vegan marshmallows

1 tbsp vegan chocolate syrup for garnish (optional)

3-6 dandies vegan marshmallows for garnish (optional)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray or grease an 8 inch square baking pan and set aside.

In a large bowl mix the oatmeals, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Meanwhile mix the ground flax meal (finely ground is best here) and the 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl and let it get goopy.

Mix the soy milk and melted margarine together and pour into the dry mixture.  Mix.  Then add the goopy flax meal.  Mix well.  You don’t want any flax lumps.

Slowly fold in the chocolate chips and the marshmallows.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes.  Let it sit in the pan for about 5 minutes to firm up.  Serve warm.

Vegan Minestrone

The cold front I talked about yesterday has come through.  As I drove home from work I was hit by how different it felt.  The coloring was different.  The air felt different.  And it was definitely much colder.

When I got home the smell of a wood fire greeted me as I opened the door.  The second smell I noticed was this wonderful soup simmering on the stove.  Aren’t I incredibly lucky to have a husband who not only is supportive of me in all I do but who also cooks??  Yes.  Yes I am.

Anyway, this is a mild variation on the minestrone soup recipe from “Vegan on $4 a Day” by Ellen Jaffe Jones.  I just got my copy and this is the first thing we’ve made from it, but there are many things I’ve been eyeing.

Minestrone

1/2 cup dried kidney beans

1/2 cup dried cannellini beans

6 cups water

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes

1 onion

3 carrots

1.5 cups cabbage

1 14oz can cut green beans or fresh or frozen

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

2 garlic cloves

4 oz gluten free whole grain spiral pasta

2 tbsp. fresh parsely

Soak the beans for at least 2 hours.  Then drain and put them in a large pot.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Turn it down to medium-low, cover it, and let it cook for about an hour.  While it is cooking shred your cabbage and chop your other veggies.  (You can certainly use fresh or frozen green beans – We just didn’t have any.)  Then add the tomatoes (not drained), the chopped onion, the chopped carrots, the shredded cabbage, the can of green beans (drained), the 2 bouillon cubes (broken up if you can), and the chopped garlic.  Put the lid back on and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until things are starting to soften.  Add the pasta and cook until tender (about 10-15 minutes for gluten free pasta).  Stir in the parsely and serve hot.

We really enjoyed this soup.  I had mine with some toasted bread topped with vegan pate (an exciting though expensive treat I found on my trip into DC last weekend).  It was great for a cold night!

Entering this recipe into Wellness Weekend!

What’s your favorite winter soup?

Looking towards cold weather – a few different thoughts

There is a cold front coming right towards us on Delmarva.  (I live where Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia meet.  It’s also often called “The Eastern Shore.”)  I know this because I read weather maps.  But I also know this because my joints are aching and I’m swollen.  My body lets me know when there are going to be big weather changes, especially ones where the weather is getting colder.

Winter was always my favorite season though it now means I feel a little worse.  So I’m trying to prepare for it by keeping the house warmer (warmer joints = happier joints in my world) and by getting ready to feed my body healthy filling food.  I love my pasta salads and cold dishes in the summer but I need different food in the winter.

I’m looking towards soup.  In fact Mark got out my new copy of “Vegan on $4 a day” and is going to make a variation on the minestrone soup for dinner tomorrow night.  I’m thinking oatmeal for breakfast instead of green smoothies.  And I’m thinking that the microwave in the teacher’s lounge is going to get used a lot more by me to heat up my lunches.

 Goodbye fresh watermelon

and Hello Chili  

I pulled out my winter clothes last week since I need to keep myself warm and I’ve had quite the shock.  Very little fits.  I’ve lost some weight since going vegan; About 20-30 pounds at last check.  Well, to be honest, at my last rheumatology appointment I had gained 2 pounds.  I’m also on daily steroids so the fact that I’ve lost any weight has been impressive.

But I’ve also gone down a dress size or more in the last 2 months.  I’m not trying to lose weight though it is a nice bonus or side-line.  Nope.  I’m trying to be healthy.  I’m trying to feel as good as I can while living with an auto-immune disorder.  I’m trying to live the best life I can by eating healthy food.  I’m working on cutting down the junk food, cutting down the stress, and upping the love and joy.  Some days it works well.  Some days it doesn’t.  Apparently my body is liking it, though, as I have a huge pile of clothes outside my bedroom door that no longer fit.  I tried on 7 shirts the other day getting dressed for work because everything was too big.  I’ve spent most of my life trying to lose weight and the irony is that when I finally stopped worrying about that and just wanted to be healthy, the weight has come off.

Yes there really is a pile of clothes in my hallway.  And look at that cuteness with the pairs of jeans I haven’t moved to “the pile” yet.  

So winter weather is right around the corner.  There is the potential for a wintry mix this weekend which is unheard of for this part of the country in October.  What I eat will change a little bit as this cold front comes in, and what I wear may change a lot as I have to hit all the local thrift stores looking for clothes that fit.  (Yes, I will sacrifice and go shopping.)

What will change with you as the colder weather arrives?  Or, if you live somewhere where the weather is getting warmer, what will change for you that way?

WIAW – Crazy Day Addition

Last week I didn’t do What I Ate Wednesday and I have to say, I missed it.  ;)

Today was a crazy day of running around, running meetings, testing students, and going to appointments.  But I still ate!

Breakfast was the last muffin and a banana.    I’ve been worried about my liquid intake recently.  Basically I’ve been concerned that I have been dehydrated.  I’ve been trying to up my water intake but I often forget or don’t have time.  So yesterday I made myself a big pitcher of iced green tea and drank a few glasses of it today.

(That’s stevia behind the drinks, by the way!)

Lunch was eaten quickly at my desk.

That’s leftover Black Beans and Quinoa and a banana.  (What can I say?  The bananas were apparently the easiest thing to grab today!)  I *think* I had a fruit and nut bar in the middle of the day that I grabbed from my desk drawer in between meetings but the truth is that I’m not completely sure and I didn’t take a picture.  Talk about mindless eating?!  I know I was hungry and I remember looking in my drawer but the rest of that time is so filled with “trying to get things done.”

I left work early to go to an appointment and then stopped at my mom’s to drop E off.  When I walked through the door Mark shoved a cookie at me and said “Here!  Try this!”  So I did, without taking a picture.  I did, however, get the box.

It was a decent cookie that was vegan, nut free, gluten free, soy free, etc.

E was at my parents’ house.  Mark went out.  And T still didn’t feel good and didn’t want to eat, so I was on my own.

I was hungry and tired so I went basic with salad greens, sunflower seeds, and goji berries.  (See, I did learn something at Take Back Your Health!)  I topped it with some olive oil & balsamic vinegar.  Fast and easy and tasty.

I decided I was still hungry, though, and made my favorite banana soft serve recipe:

That’s 3 frozen bananas, a good tablespoon of natural almond butter (crunchy, preferably), and some almond milk blended.  Then topped with some raw cacao nibs.  Bliss.

I guess, in looking back, I could have called this the day of the banana as well.  Wow I didn’t necessarily mean to eat that many bananas!  Do you ever find yourself eating the same thing over and over in one day?

My Trip To Great Sage

Before I left on my adventure last weekend my cousin Moe called and left me a message that basically said “Is there any restaurant you’d like to try or do you want me to cook you a vegan meal?”  Now, Moe is a culinary school graduate so anything she cooks or bakes is good but I called and left her a message that said “Well….since you asked….I’ve been dying to try Great Sage in Clarksville.  Is that too far?”

The next communication was a text from Moe that said “Of course not!!” and so I found myself last Friday night sitting at a lovely little table with Moe and her 16 month old son W, looking at a menu full of lots and lots of things I could order!

I told the server I was overwhelmed; That I live in an area without Vegan restaurants and that I didn’t know what to do.  He smiled and said “Because you can order anything on the menu!”

I decided to start with a green juice.  However, I did make a little mistake.  I read it quickly and saw that there was cucumber and mint but I neglected to read the word “celery.”  Celery is the one food I cannot stand.  I detest it.  Really and truly.  But I drank it.

We decided to split an appetizer and went with the soft pretzel and sauces.

The three sauces were a mustard sauce, a spicy hummus (very spicy!), and a cheese sauce.  My favorite was the cheese sauce and I pretty much licked the container clean.

Moe got the mac & cheese for adults which was wonderful.  It had Brussels Sprouts and cauliflower and I know next time I go I’ll be getting this!

I went with one of the specials which was eggplant breaded and fried with a sauce over pasta with a vegan creme and tomato sauce.

Yum.  Of course we had to order dessert.  Basically we ordered two and split them!  Pumpkin Creme Brulee and Chocolate Lava Cake with homemade coconut ice cream.

The pictures don’t do these desserts justice because, well, WOW.  Definitely a wonderful meal and a place I will go to as often as I can!!

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins – Vegan And Gluten Free

Along with being intolerant to wheat T has an intolerance to potatoes.  Actually he has a few others as well but the potatoes one impacts us in lots of ways.  I’ve already talked about the fact that he can’t eat French Fries which is, of course, death to a 12 year old boy.  But the other thing it impacts is that most premade gluten free mixes have potato starch in them.  If potato starch was far down on the list we have been ok with it, but we are realizing that even a little bit creates some problems.  However I’ve been having problems making my own mixes recently.

When I want to bake this is what I take out of the fridge and freezer.  I know there are plenty of people who have had success making their own mixes, and I have had some successes, but I haven’t been able to make anything I’ve been consistently happy with other than the Gluten Free Cookie Mix I use, and I haven’t had as much success making other things with that.  I will continue to mix things up and try them, but I have to admit I was thrilled when, on my weekend in DC, I found Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit Mix that does *not* contain potato starch.  I’ve made 2 different muffins with it and so far, I like it.  I think it might become my go-to flour mix for muffins, quick breads, and pancakes/waffles.  Yes it is a little pricey, but no more than buying all those other flours.

When thinking about the flour mix I decided to try looking up some quick bread recipes.  I happened upon this post which led me to this recipe on Natural Papa.  As you will see, my final recipe is quite different but I wanted to give credit to my inspiration!

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins

1.5 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit Mix (or other gluten free mix)

1 cup certified gluten free oats

3/4 cup organic white sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon (I might use more next time…)

2 tbsp ground flax seeds

6 tbsp warm water

1 1/4 cups natural (no sugar added) applesauce

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup almond milk

3/4 – 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips

1/3 cup brown sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Mix the flour, oatmeal, sugar, salt, and cinnamon together well.  In a small container mix the ground flax seeds and the warm water.  Let sit for a few minutes while you add the other liquid ingredients (applesauce, oil, and almond milk) to the dry ingredients.  Don’t mix yet.  Add the congealed flax mixture to everything else and mix together.  Then add the chocolate chips and mix well.

Grease your muffin pan.  The dough will be wet but not runny.  Plop it into your muffin tins.  When it is all used up, mix together your brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle a little on top of each muffin.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let sit in the muffin pan for about 10 minutes before you remove them from the pan to cool on a rack.  They will appear a little gooey if you eat one now, but set nicely.

Makes about a dozen muffins.

These will be breakfast, dessert, and lunchbox snacks around here.  I think the basic muffin could be modified in many many ways.  What is your favorite muffin?

Beginnings of a weekend recap….

 

 

 

I had a great weekend.  I learned a ton from my conference and ate at some amazing places like Great Sage , Sticky Fingers, and Everlasting Life.  I’ll be working on posts about the different meals.

While I enjoyed all the conference participants I bought a video from Jason Wrobel, The Raw Vegan Chef.

I haven’t watched it yet but I loved his recipe demo and am looking forward to it.

I also visited my grandparents, spent time with 2 different cousins, saw a cool art movie called Weekend (It is a film with gay main characters so be aware if you click on the link.), visited IKEA and Yes Organic Market.

It was great but, as you might expect, it took a lot out of me.  I’m tired and run-down.  As it turns out T is sick with a fever and I have mommy duty tomorrow so I’ll be home with him which is probably good for my recovery.

I’m so glad I gave myself the chance to enjoy some wonderful “me time.”  I am blessed to have fabulous people in my life.  One of the cousins I hung out with is a vegan, but the other is not and she happily went to a vegan restaurant with me and had her first ever Brussels sprout.  It was momentous!

I’m looking forward to filling you in more as I feel better and have more energy!!

 

 

Off On An Adventure!

Today is going to be a little crazy.

9am : Dog Vet Appointment

11am: Haircuts for 2 kids

1:30pm: Haircut & color for me

3:00pm: Get on the Road

Thanks to Valerie at City.Life.Eats and the giveaway I won I am off to Virginia for the weekend on my own.  I am leaving Mark and the kids home to navigate the land of Halloween festivities while I eat as much vegan food as I can.  Oh yes, and learn lots of important stuff!

You see, I couldn’t just “go to the conference.”  Oh no.

Tonight I’m staying with cousin #1 (I have a lot of cousins so she is not really #1 in birth order just in order of how I will see them this weekend – And if she reads this OF COURSE you are my favorite cousin.).  We are going to make a pilgrimage to Great Sage Vegan Restaurant.  Her husband and older son will be off doing their own thing so it will just be us girls (and a baby) and it will be delightful I’m sure!

Saturday morning I will drive to Virginia to attend this amazing conference.  I’m looking forward to meeting people (especially Valerie!) and learning.  Plus I want to see all the vendors.

Saturday night I’m going to stay with cousin #2.  (And if you’re reading this YOU are my favorite cousin.  Don’t worry about what I said before.  You know how she is… lol.)  This cousin lives in a cool communal house with lots of vegans and some cats.  The plan is that I will be eating myself into a food coma through vegan DC.  I have heard about vegan fried chicken and vegan cheesecake.  There was talk about vegan doughnuts but I think that was early in the morning while I am at the conference.  We may attend this fundraiser where the Professional Women’s Arm Wrestling Association will be the entertainment.

So basically I am going to spend the weekend hanging out with wonderful people, eating vegan food (not always the healthiest vegan food), and learning about taking care of myself.  While I’m sure the conference will not suggest vegan fried chicken, I also know that part of taking care of me is surrounding myself with wonderful people and joyous occasions.  I’m trying to learn balance.

I also know I’m going to be very tired on Sunday night after the conference all day and then the 2.5 hour drive home.  So I’m not sure if there will be posts this weekend.  But I’m going to enjoy myself and I’ll fill you in when I get home!

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