Avocado Salad

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Spring is here! Spring is here! I’m so excited. This means my CSA is starting back up and I get local yummy fresh vegetables! I will write about CSAs for Thursday.

I love avocados almost as much as I love spring. Okay, I’m lying. I love avocados as much as I love spring. When they are abundant and ripe, I super enjoy this simple salad.

What you will need:

1 ripe avocado

1 ripe tomato, vine ripened or roma both work well if not pulling from a garden

1 medium cucumber

The juice from a fresh lemon

Cut avocado in half and remove the pit. I like to dice the meat of the avocado right in the skin and then scoop it out into my bowl. Dice the tomato and add to bowl. Dice up enough cucumber to balance the other two ingredients and add to bowl. Squeeze in as much lemon juice as you like. If lemon is not your favorite flavor, add just enough juice to not let the avocado turn brown. Stir and enjoy!

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Late July

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Snack attack!

Apparently these Late July chips recently landed in a grocery store near me. And they are delicious!

Organic, gluten free, and a brand I have enjoyed other products from? They had to be good and I wasn’t disappointed.

Go try some for yourself.

Brownies

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I am a total sucker for chocolate. I wish I wasn’t, but alas.

I made these brownies for a party and many have wanted the recipe. Warning, when making these, the mixture will not be creamy like other brownie recipes. The dough will be very dry and you will think you are doing it wrong. Please know that you are making perfect and delicious brownies.

What you will need:

1/3 cup room temperature butter flavored vegan non-hydrogenated shortening

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup while whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unbleached flour

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 TBS baking powder

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/3 cup almond milk

3/4 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup walnuts

Canola oil spray

 

Start by preheating the oven to 300

In a mixing bowl, use a fork to mash all the sugar and shortening together. Use a fine strainer to strain all the dry ingredients into the bowl. Pour in the almond milk, vanilla, and almond extract. With a hand mixer, mix on low until everything is well blended. Again, it will look very dry. Like a chocolate crumb mix. This is okay. Stir in the chips and nuts.

Spray a square or small rectangular glass pan with the canola oil. Pour the dough into the pan and using the back of a spoon or your hand, pat the dough into place. You are trying to smoosh out some of the air and make the top even.

Bake for 35 minutes and then check the edges of the dough. If they look extra dry, even crisp but not burnt, the brownies are done. If not, cook in 5 minute increments until dry on the edges. Make sure to let cool a few minutes and cut into squares.

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Soda Bread

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This bread is a yummy addition to any soup. And, it takes very little time to make. Eat it right away for the best flavor and texture. It’s delicious alone or with a little margarine or even fruit preserves. For leftovers, just toast slices. The bread will only last two or three days before it’s too hard to eat, but my loafs are always eaten for then. What you will need:

2 cups plain soy or almond milk

2 tsp white distilled vinegar

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup dried raisins or unsweetened cranberries

2 TBS non-hydrogenated margarine

Spray canola oil

Start by preheating the oven to 425.

In a small bowl, pour in the nondairy milk and vinegar. You are making “buttermilk,” so let it “curdle” for at least 5 minutes while you work with the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, pour in the flours, baking soda, salt, and oats. Stir. Cut in the margarine with two knives or a pastry cutter until everything looks damp. This means the dry ingredients have completely mixed with the margarine. Add raisins or cranberries and stir. Make a well in the center and pour in the “buttermilk.” Stir until a sticky dough.¬† Knead the dough with your hand about 10 to 12 times. No more than this or the dough will be too thick and the bread too heavy.

Spray a round 9 or 10 inch cake pan with canola oil.

Place your dough into the sprayed pan and cut a cross on top. Bake between 30 and 40 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom of the pan.

Enjoy!

Travelin’ Vegan

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I love to travel. Seeing new places and meeting new people brings me great joy. This is me recently in the Grand Canyon.

Traveling can be hard as a vegan. Airports don’t always have a lot of choices and not all places are friendly to diet restrictions. But, don’t despair, there are some some things you can do to be prepared and enjoy a great vacation.

1. Happy Cow. I have written about this website before. It has so many cities on it! With a little research, you may have a list of vegan options at your fingertips before even leaving your home.

2. Research. When picking hotels, look at the restaurant menus before booking. A little extra work in the beginning can make a world of difference when starving. I have absolutely picked a hotel just because it had more vegan options.

3. Apps. If you have a smartphone, there are a couple apps that can be lifesavers. First, Happy Cow has an app called, wait for it, “HappyCow.” It’s only 99 cents in the Apple app store. As an app, it will tell you exactly how close you are, and offer directions, to vegan friendly restaurants. There is a “Veg Out” free app, but the Happy Cow app works better and faster. Always stay clear of a hungry vegan! The other really helpful app is called “GateGuru” and is free. Looking for something to eat at an airport, but have no idea what’s available or how far away it might be from your gate? This app will tell you what’s at the airport you are in and where the restaurant is located. Only a list is provided, but places like Taco Bell (seven layer burrito, no cheese, no sour cream) , U Food (tofu chili), and Starbucks (oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts) do great business in airports and have vegan options.

4. Pack it. I always pack granola bars that won’t melt (no chocolate), a bag of almonds, and roasted seaweed; especially when traveling to a foreign country. All of these are carry-on appropriate and perfect when I can’t find anything else that I want to eat.

One of my eating rules is to not eat something just because I can. I have to want to eat it. For example, I am not a big fan of iceberg lettuce and thus will not eat an iceberg lettuce salad just because it’s available. By using the tips above, I help create situations where I can eat things I want rather than things that just happen to be available.

Happy traveling!

Cream Cheese Pizza

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This is such an easy meal in the summer. It’s fast to make and full of fresh vegetables. I try to keep the layers thin, but you can make as thick or thin as you like. What you will need:

1 ready to eat vegan pizza crust

2 or 3 small tomatoes, sliced

1 small cucumber, diced

1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced

1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup walnut pieces

1 container vegan cream cheese

Start by stirring the cream cheese to soften. When spreadable, spread onto the pizza crust. Spread as thick or thin as you like. Next, layer the other topping to your liking. Cut just like you would any other pizza and enjoy.

Substitute your favorite veggies as desired. Broccoli, spinach and garbanzo beans are all wonderful on this easy pizza.

 

Trader Joe’s Vegan Cheese

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Trader Joe’s does a good job of providing vegan alternatives for many products. Recently, they started to offer a vegan shredded mozzarella cheese. I was SO excited! It’s cheaper than the Diaya cheese I have written about so I HAD to try it.

It’s good. It melts quickly and has a pleasant taste. Not as yummy as Diaya, but at $1 to $2 cheaper than Diaya at other stores, I have stocked up.

Go taste for yourself.

Chocolate Bundt Cake

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I was asked to make a King Cake for Fat Tuesday this year. There are two things I know are true of King Cakes. 1) They are circular. 2) They are purple, green, and/or gold. Being vegan, I did my best to mimic a traditional King cake in a version I could enjoy.

What needed for the cake:

1 1/4 cups Whole White Wheat flour

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 tsp distilled white vinegar

1 cup water

1/2 cup unsweetened natural apple sauce

For the icing:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Start by letting the oven preheat to 350 degrees. “Butter” and flour your bundt pan. If you are lucky, you can find a product that is like spray oil, but with flour in it too and spray your pan with this.

For the cake: Using a fine strainer, like the one in My Favorite Things, strain all the dry ingredients into a large bowl with high sides. You are eliminating any clumps and adding air. Stir the dry ingredients so they are well combined. Make a hole in the middle and add all the wet ingredients. Quickly mix the ingredients so  that when you turn on your mixer, fewer dry ingredients go flying out of the bowl. Using a mixer (I have an inexpensive hand mixer that has never let me down for over a decade), mix on low for one minute to finish combining everything and turn the mixer up to medium for another two minutes. This makes the batter fluffy and airy, almost frothy.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt cake pan and bake for 40 minutes in the middle of the oven. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes. If you need to add a plastic baby the way I did, wash it really well and then stick the toy into the cake after the 20 minutes and before turning the cake over. After 20 minutes, turn the pan over onto a plate. Let the cake continue to cool while working on the icing.

For the icing: Use a small sauce pan over medium heat and stir the raspberries and 3/4 cup powdered sugar until saucy, between three and five minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool for at least 10 minutes. Add the additional 1/4 cup powdered sugar and stir. The mixture should be thin enough to drizzle, but thick enough to stay in place too. If still runny, add more powdered sugar. When ready, drizzle the icing over your cooled bundt cake.

Yum! Now I need to go make another one. My cake didn’t last 24 hours.