Archive for July, 2010

Protein Cake & Coconut Chocolate

So I was looking at the High Protein Chocolate Cake that Chocolate Covered Katie had posted, and it looked so delicious that I decided I had to try it. The problem is, with the pumpkin shortage, I knew I’d have to use something else. I figured pureed butternut squash would be basically the same thing, right? Well… maybe not so much. I cut up some b-nut squash, steamed it in the microwave, then ran it through the food processor, but I think since it was such a small amount, it didn’t really get pureed… just sort of mashed. So then I tried combining it with the rest of the ingredients but I think maybe I didn’t mix it properly…

I baked it according to directions, and it came out alright (notice the cocoa I added didn’t really get blended…) but there were noticeable chunks of squash which not only gave it a weird texture, but also gave it a sweet potato taste.

There is the cake after I cut a slice out. As you can see, the cocoa didn’t exactly mix well… I probably should have stuck with Katie’s direction, but I was afraid my protein powder wasn’t chocolate-y enough. (I used Jay Robb’s protein powder.) I’m afraid I didn’t do the cake justice. I’m definitely going to try it again once I can get my hands on some pumpkin!

Since that was a bit of a flop, I decided to make some Vegan Chocolate, a favorite recipe that I found on Love, Veggies and Yoga‘s blog. This recipe is super simple and ALWAYS comes out well!!! I followed her recipe, but quadrupled it (yes, 4x!) because I wanted to give some to a friend. I also added in about 1/4 cup of shredded coconut and 1/4 cup of sliced almonds. It added a nice crunch! Definitely check out the recipe and give it a try. You’ll have to keep it in the freezer, or it gets a little messy, but it’s totally worth it! (And there’s nothing better than cold chocolate when its >100 degrees outside!)

Mixing it up! (I learned my lesson and mixed it VERY well!)

And… the finished product:

I let them set in a mini loaf pan, then sliced them up and put them on plastic wrap on a plate. Seriously, go make these!!

Hope you’re all staying cool in the summer heat!

Does anyone have any vegan cookbook recommendations? I’d like to buy a couple but I don’t know where to begin!

-LLV

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Cookies & Couscous

Since it’s a holiday weekend, my lovely friend Alexa Marie came to visit, so we’ve been enjoying Richmond, and celebrating her recent birthday. Of course no celebration would be complete without some cookies! So yesterday afternoon we kicked off the weekend by making some Maple Almond Butter cookies. Ever since I started reading Heather Eats Almond Butter I’ve been rather addicted to the lovely nut butters!

I found the Maple Almond Butter Cookie recipe at Sweet + Natural’s blog. Definitely check out this recipe, because not only is it vegan, but it’s also delicious! (Even your non-vegan pals will devour these in minutes!)

Maple Almond Butter Cookies

  • 1/2 cup natural almond butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds

Here are all the ingredients mixed in:

The finished product:

The recipe only makes about 12 cookies, so I think next time I would double the recipe, simply because these cookies are so good!! These will definitely be making a reappearance!

Since the weather was so nice, Alexa and I walked to Carytown to meet my brother and his wife for lunch. We decided to try Carytown Burger and Fries (I checked and made sure they had some veg options before we went! 🙂 ) Alexa and I both ordered the Black Bean Burger.

Pictures of the food to come… Alexa is a photographer, so her pictures will be worth the wait!

Alexa and I also made these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies which was my first time trying the Ener-G Egg replacer.  These weren’t my favorite, but I think it was because I slightly burned the bottoms 😦 The dough wasn’t sticky enough for us to roll it into balls, so we just pressed it all into a 9×13 pan, so maybe that was the problem. I’m not sure I’ll try making these again… but who knows!

Sunday, David and I wanted to make dinner and I was in charge of finding a recipe, so thankfully, I’d had one in mind for awhile. I came across this Cherry Tomato Couscous recipe from 101 Cookbooks, which I found on Everyday Godesss blog and if you leave out the feta cheese, it’s totally vegan! This came out SO good!

Most of our cooking attempts go into a failure or success category… but this one we decided belonged in the “repeat” category, it was that good! David even commented that he liked all the colors 🙂 today we’re taking the leftovers on a picnic! It’s great picnic food because it doesn’t have to be served hot or cold. Also, although I didn’t calculate the exact nutritionals for this, I can tell you it’s a great source of protein + fiber, as well as some healthy fats from the olive oil, and plenty of vitamin C from the tomatoes. You can’t beat that!

Last thought of the day: I’m really contemplating buying a Vitamix. Since I use my little baby food processor about twice a day, it seems like it would be worth the investment. Ever since my magic bullet broke, I haven’t had a way to blend drinks, and the food processor just doesn’t work so well. Plus, it seems like everyone in the blogosphere has a Vitamix!!

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821 Cafe & Fudge Babies!

I’ve only been in Richmond for about 3 months, but so far, I’ve really enjoyed the restaurants here! There are a lot of unique “hole in the wall” places, and last night, my friend Wendy and I decided to try 821 Cafe. I looked up the menu before hand, and was pleased to see so many vegan options! I knew the hard part would be deciding what to try!

It was a very “hipster” atmosphere, and all of the servers were very friendly and welcoming. After perusing the menu, I settled on the Vegan burger with a side of vegan chili. Wendy decided to balance things out with a philly steak sub and cheese fries. (Ah, opposites attract!!) Although it took a little while to get our food, Wendy and I were deep in conversation, so we were in no hurry! Here is my delicious burger:

Instead of vegan chili, I think I got the seasoned arroz… which was good, so I didn’t complain! 🙂 This burger was huge, and had plenty of sprouts and avocado. I was really pleased with this burger. (Sometimes you order a veggie burger, and it’s just a burger with some lettuce and maybe a tomato, but this one was loaded with so many other goodies!) I didn’t snap a picture of Wendy’s plate, but apparently the folks at 821 didn’t think the cook gave her enough cheese fries, because they ended up bringing us an extra side of fries, just because! Even with a tip, my meal was only ~$10, which I think is a good price for a delicious vegan dinner! I’ll definitely be going here again!

After I got home, I wanted to do some baking, but didn’t feel like actually baking… so I decided to finally try making Fudge Babies, from Chocolate Covered Katie.

Here are all the ingredients going into my little food processor!

At first, the food processor was making a really weird sound, and I was afraid I was going to burn up my little processor, but then it got going, and turned out fine! I was a little skeptical, because I’ve never actually eaten a date before, and something about them freaks me out a little bit. Thankfully, these guys turned out splendidly! I followed the recipe I linked above, but also added in a few chocolate chips. I couldn’t believe how simple these were to make! I literally just blended it up, and then squished them into little balls. That was easy! (I meant to take a photo of the finished product, but alas, I’m still working out remembering to take pictures!)

Katie, I’m so glad I finally tried these little babies! Soo delicious! And I think the possibilities would be endless! Next time I think I’ll add some coconut. 🙂

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Chocolate Chip Coconut Bars

I’m pretty sure my co-workers think I’m out to sabotage their diets… because I’ve been baking up a storm! I decided to give my latest creation to a different department (my brother’s department, specifically. I’m such a good sister!) So I made these babies last night

Chocolate Chunk Coconut Bars

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups oats (quick oats work best)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon canola or veg oil
1/2 – 2/3 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like things)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon chocolate or coconut extract (optional)
1-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
1/2 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
1/4-1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda and powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine applesauce, oil, sugar, vanilla,and other extract (if using).

Add wet to dry and mix until combined. The mixture will be very thick, so add soymilk a little at a time until it holds together well.

Fold in coconut (reserving a small portion for the top) and chocolate chunks. Press into baking dish and sprinkle over remaining coconut.

Bake for 21-23 minutes

These are moist and chewy, like a very soft cookie. (One of my *volunteer* food tasters described it as more of a sweet bread.) They were pretty simple to make, and I’ll definitely make this one again!

Dinner consisted of Soy Yogurt, Blueberries & Bear Naked Fit granola, as well as some Zucchini from my garden. Kind of a random dinner combination, but I was listening to my cravings!

I really like the Bear Naked Fit Vanilla Almond Granola, but I haven’t tried that many different kinds. I like it because it’s low fat and doesn’t have too much added sugar. Anyone else have a favorite granola? I’m open to trying new kinds!

-LLV

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Hello Blogger World!

Hello world! I’m Liz, and this is me, living vegan! To give you a little background, I’ve been a vegetarian for about 5 years, but about 2 months ago, I decided to go vegan. I’ve had high cholesterol all my life, (genetics, thanks dad!) and am trying to lower it through a vegan diet. This is my exploration into a healthier lifestyle!

Let’s start with some basic statistics:

My overall cholesterol is 277… anything above 200 is bad news! My LDL (the bad cholesterol) is 225, and that should be less than 150! My HDL (the good guys!) is 39, and it should be over 50. My main goal in the next 6 months, is to get the total cholesterol and LDL to go down, and to raise my HDL!

I’m going to try to keep a close eye on my cholesterol, despite the fact that I’m *totally* afraid of needles!

I’ve been an avid food blog reader for awhile, and it was an essential part of me taking the leap into veganism, so I’m really excited to have a blog of my own! It’s such an amazing community of people, and I hope to be a part of that!

So there you have it, the basic point of this blog! I’ll be posting new recipes + daily eats, so hopefully I can get a little better with my photography skills!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy!

-LLV

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