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Monday, March 26, 2012

Busy Weekend & Homemade Almond Milk

Sheesh, this has been one caraaazy month!  It seems like every weekend we are running all over or traveling somewhere - it makes my two short days off go way too quickly!  This weekend I tried to make the most of my time by making my own almond milk - I tried two different methods and found a winner:
Attempt 1: (not the winner - but good if you don't feel like/forget to soak your almonds)

  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small sauce pan
  • Add 1 cup of almonds and boil for about 3 minutes 

  • Drain almonds - allow to cool for a few minutes 
  • Peel skin off of almonds
  • Place almonds & 2 cups of water in bender - blend on high for a few minutes  
  • You may need to shake it around a few times or stir with a wooden spoon... unless you have a fancy schmancy blender
  • Add another 1-2 cups of water, depending on how thick you like your almond milk 
  • Blend again
  • Strain through either a cheesecloth or an awesome nut milk bag!
  • Refrigerate & enjoy!
Attempt 2: WINNER!! 
  • Soak 1 cup of almonds in about 2 cups of water - make sure almonds are covered 
  • In the morning peel almonds (time consuming, but worth it AND if you do it half asleep at 6 am like I did you won't even notice how annoying it is!)
Just give it a little squeeze!

  • Place almonds, 2 cups of water, a tiny dash of salt and about 1/2 tsp agave nectar in blender

  • Blend for a few minutes - again shaking and stirring as needed 
  • Once it is all white and frothy add 1-2 cups of water - again depending on how thick you want it 
  • Blend 

  • Strain
Check out that nut milk bag!

Attempt 1 was not as sweet and flavorful and a little more watery (probably more my fault than the recipes) Also - I read that soaking almonds removes toxic enzyme inhibitors that make it difficult for us to digest them (source) so soaking makes them easier for us to digest and reap those almondy benefits.
I was so excited when I tasted Attempt 2 - it was delicious!! It didn't taste like the almond milk I buy, but it was SO good!  I'm pretty excited that I can have almond milk without the tricalcium phosphate, xanthan gum, ergocalciferol and dl-alpha tocopherol acetate - WOAH I can't believe I hadn't read those ingredients sooner...

BONUS - if you're feeling really crazy (or hungover...) make yourself some chocolate almond milk!

Chocolate Almond Milk
2 cups almond milk
2 tsp maple syrup
4 drops vanilla extract
2 tsp cocoa powder

Throw ingredients in the blender (or whisk for a few minutes) and ENJOY! 

Peas & Love!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Slow Cooker Chana Masala

True story: I found chana masala by accident.  We went out to get some Indian for dinner, and I was at a complete loss.  My go-to Indian food was always chicken masala, I loved it (and miss it a little) and being a ordering scaredy cat, I had no idea what to get.  I am that annoying person that takes forever to make up their mind, and am then plagued by extreme guilt after ordering... So when we were ordering I told my waiter that I am vegan and left my fate in his hands - he chose a chana masala for me.  I fell in love.  This morning I was brave enough to tackle my own version, well my crock pot was at least.  I was greeted with a nice hot dinner and a yummy smelling house when I got home today, I love my crock pot!

Oh!  There's no funky processed foods in here either ;)

Slow Cooker Chana Masala 

  • 2 cups dried chick peas (or 2 16 oz cans, although I *highly* recommend using dried!)
  • 4 cups water 
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne (you can cut back if you don't like heat)
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric 
  • salt to taste
  • *THE NIGHT BEFORE* place chick peas and water in crock pot - put on low and get a good night's sleep ;) (skip this step if using canned chick peas)

  • Wake up to plump beautiful & delicious chick peas - sorry canned but I'm over you
  • Dump the rest of the ingredients in

  • Give a stir 
  • Cook on low for at least 8 hours
  • Come home serve over brown rice, throw in some warmed naan for good measure!

  • Enjoy!
Peas & Love,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Packaged Food Crutch

While I have thoroughly enjoyed my recent binge with all types of vegan comfort & convenience foods (tofu, tempeh, macaroni & teese, daiya, gardein, pre-packaged veggie burgers, bagels with tofutti - actually anything with tofutti!!) my body has not.  The past few days I have been sluggish so I started thinking about what I have been eating.  I realized that while these things tasted good and reminded me of delicious foods I haven't eaten in a while, they are also the exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve when I started eating vegan a few months ago.  I did this because I wanted to feel healthier!  For me, eating fake cheese & meat was a fast track to feeling worse.  Instead of beating myself up about it, I'll call those packaged foods training wheels.  They helped me get on my way while I removed all things meat & dairy related from my diet.  
Here's my (new & improved) philosophy on packaged foods-

Don't Eat It If:
1. It has an insane amount of ingredients (I like to shoot for a max of 5)
2. You can't pronounce or don't recognize some of the ingredients - the last time I checked ethoxylated diglycerides don't grow on trees- don't freaking eat it.
3. It contains high fructose corn syrup, even if the commercials promise it's ok... it's not.
4. It contains isolated soy protein - this causes a whole mess of problems with digestion, hormonal imbalances & reproduction, not a good scene.

Ideally I'd like to not eat any packaged foods or at least consume them rarely.  If you want to be a superstar you should concentrate on eating only whole foods.  It seems like these buzz words are everywhere and they may even bring other ones to mind - like organic, locally grown, all natural, pesticide free... but the definition of a whole food is way simpler than that.  A whole food is exactly that - the food as a whole.  It's the difference between an orange and orange juice, a baked potato and french fries, an apple and apple sauce.  It's best to eat something in it's natural state, or the way it was "born" for lack of a better word.   

Here's a quick dinner I whipped up last night (after making vegan Bailey's in preparation for my cousin's St. Patty's day Bachelorette party!!) Since I haven't gone food shopping all week I needed to wing it, so next time hopefully no canned products :)

Spinach & Artichoke Quinoa


  • 1 C uncooked quinoa
  • 2 C vegetable broth
  • 1 TBSP safflower oil (for sautéing) 
  • 2 minced/pressed garlic cloves
  • 1/2 C sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (I used a can since I have never prepared artichoke hearts before and I don't know how to!)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Start prepping your quinoa - bring broth to a boil, add quinoa - lower to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes 
  • While your quinoa is cooking pour safflower oil in a large pan over medium/high heat
  • Add garlic cloves and cook them for about 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn
  • Add artichoke hearts make sure you drain them well if using canned!
  • Break up artichokes with a wooden spoon and let them brown up with the garlic for about 5-8 minutes
  • Chop up your sun dried tomatoes and add them to the pan for another 5 minutes 
  • When your quinoa is done add it to the pan as well
  • Turn off the heat or down very low 
  • Add raw baby spinach and cover for 2-3 minutes to wilt it down a little without completely shriveling it up
  • Mix together and voila!
The flavors together tasted yummy and there was no faux cheese or meat in sight - score!

Happy St. Patty's Day Friends!!!

Peas & Love

Monday, March 12, 2012

Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

Twice in one day!?  Pretty much unheard of for PLB, so I hope you enjoy it!  Our dinner was so delish, and I was feeling pretty guilty for not posting a recipe in a few days so here ya go!

By the way, I am really on a tempeh kick, and I hope you are too

Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff
(based off of this recipe from OhSheGlows)
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic - chopped, pressed or minced
  • 2 portobello mushrooms - chopped
  • 1 package of tempeh - sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 8 oz package of fettucini (I used an 8 oz package of spinach fettucini by DeBoles)
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary or 2 TBSP fresh
  • 4 TBSP tamari or soy sauce
  • 4 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 2-4 tsp arrowroot (not sure how much I used in the end!)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups chopped kale - stems removed 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Heat a large skillet over med/high heat - with about 1 TBSP safflower or sunflower oil, saute garlic and onions for about 5 minutes 
  • Add chopped mushrooms and saute for about 10 minutes 
  • In a separate pan, brown up your sliced tempeh; about 4 minutes each side over med/high heat - when golden remove from heat
  • Stir in nutritional yeast, tamari, and rosemary and let them cook for 2-3 minutes; then add vegetable broth
  • In a small cup, mix 2 tsp arrowroot with a few drops of water until it becomes a liquidy paste - pour into pan, keep doing until you reach the consistency you are looking for - I wanted mine thickish to stick to the fettucini
  • Throw in your fettucini (or pasta of choice) and cook according to package
  • Add tempeh and kale to mushroom mixture - cook together for another 5 minutes 
  • Drain your pasta and mix with the mixture
  • Enjoy!!
As always, Peas, Love & Thanks for Reading!!

Brooklyn for the Weekend

I am still recovering from a great weekend in Brooklyn, and it definitely doesn't help that an hour of much needed sleep was taken away from us!  I am pretty sure that every time we visit BK we come back even more ready to move there, it just gets us.  Cute little shops, vegan restaurants a plenty, funky bars & cool people... yeah sorry LI, peace out.  
Here's a little recap from our fun filled weekend:

We bought a LivingSocial deal for Brooklyn Boulders, so we spent a few hours there.
What my friends/husband looked like:
Dan - Courtesy of the one and only Kristine
And then there was me...
Holding on for dear life one foot off the ground...
I like to think of myself as a pretty adventurous and active person, but this was not my best performance.  

But it wasn't a total loss, because I found THESE at a bake sale there 
Yup, vegan cupcakes - NBD

Close up of deliciousness

We hit up some sushi for dinner
Oysters for the boys

Warm mushroom salad for K & I *MUST recreate this!*


K & her noodles & veggies

Boys Sushi Plate

Veggie Tempura Roll for me - delish!
The next morning we found the cutest little restaurant for breakfast - Sun In Bloom, and it was awesome!  I'm pretty sure it was that restaurant that solidified my need to move to Brooklyn!  But then again, if I ate there often, I would be pretty freaking broke.

Brazil Nut Chocolate Milk - ANOTHER recipe that needs to be recreated!

Blueberries & Cream Lassi

Sesame Ginger (I think!) Tofu Scramble

Hueveos Rancheros
The food was amazing, the neighborhood was awesome, and I can't wait to go back!

Don't worry friends, I know I have been lacking, recipes are coming back soon!
In fact, I'm about to post our dinner tonight - Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

Peas & Love,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Amazing Orange Glazed Tempeh

I can hardly contain my excitement!! I just had my favorite meal so far of 2012!  If you are reading this, you MUST make this tempeh right now... stop checking facebook and pinterest - get to Trader Joes or another health food store, buy some tempeh and stuff your face!

Orange Glazed Tempeh

  • 8-10oz block of tempeh
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced/pressed
  • 1 TBSP grated ginger (store ginger in the freezer - it keeps longer and makes it super easy to grate)
  • 2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp white wine 
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • In a small bowl mix: OJ, garlic, ginger, tamari, maple syrup, wine, sugar & coriander 
  • Chop up tempeh - I sliced it in half width wise to make the slices thinner, then cut it into bit size pieces
  • Drizzle about 2 tbsp safflower oil in a pan - heat over med/high heat until it gets hot (but not yet smoking)
  • Throw in tempeh in a single layer 
  • Brown for about 3-4 minutes then flip 
  • Brown other side for another 3-4 minutes 
  • Pour sauce over tempeh
  • Let the sauce cook down for about 5-10 minutes over medium heat, it should get nice & thick
  • I served it over brown rice & broccoli - delish!! 
  • **Next time I may double the sauce so that it coats broccoli too** 
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!!

Peas & Love,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vegetarian Food Festival: NYC

This past Saturday Kristine & I got our butts kicked at hot yoga, cleaned ourselves up, and headed over to the Vegetarian Food Festival in NYC.  The line was frighteningly long, but with our VIP tickets from LivingSocial we were able to scoot right to the front.
Once we got inside, I'm not going to lie to you, it was seriously overwhelming.  There were tons of people everywhere and when samples came out it was comparable to a war zone - every veg for themselves!  I'm just glad I had Kristine to go into battle for me and score us some bangin samples that I was too scared to get myself!
Here are some pictures from the day:
Daiya Grilled Cheese - 2 (orange) Thumbs Up!

Woah - Yves Veggie Cold Cuts = Amaze

'bows being thrown to get a sample of vegan mac & cheese @ The Loving Hut's stand

Score!! So worth it

Toasted Coconut Vegan Marshmallows - from Sweet & Sara mmmmm 

A shot of the crowd (while cowering in a corner
... or more realistically while waiting in a line for more samples)

Nacho Teese - if you see Teese in a store -BUY IT!!!! 

We got some awesome empanadas and I forgot the vendor - if you were there help me out!
They were awesome! 

Philly" Cheesesteak" for K 

Columbian for me - delish!

After the food fest we got some manis and visited the Museum at FIT.  I wish they let us take pictures inside, the pieces were amazing, if you have a chance to check it out - you should.  After all that of course we ate some more!! Since the Loving Hut left such a lasting impression (and it doesn't hurt that K works in the area and gave them rave reviews) we headed there for some munchies: 

Veg Dumplings

Garlicky Broccoli <3

A Full Plate of Mac n Cheese - Oh Yeahhh
It really was a perfect Saturday!

Peas, Love & Thanks for Reading!