Featured Recipe: Raw Almond Butter Cups

I would have written about these raw almond butter cups sooner,  but I have been far too busy stuffing my face with them. I was looking for a snack that wouldn’t be too bad for me but that involved chocolate. I knew I had some raw recipes saved and landed on the butter cups. I didn’t really have any of the ingredients, and I made some modifications, but it all worked out well.

First, I had to buy most of the stuff. And let me tell you, almond butter and coconut oil ain’t cheap (about 10.00 a bottle). But the coconut oil held up for four or so batches (I make 24 at a time), and the almond butter will be good for six to seven batches.

Second, on my shopping trip I had to buy rolled oats. These were not terribly expensive. I got Bob’s Red Mill – and it was a large bag. The bag was so large that I decided to not buy the almonds the recipe calls for. The decision to skip the almonds was based on the fact that almonds was one more thing to buy, and the recipe said you can make these using just oats. I had this huge bag of oats and I thought that was plenty (and it is).

016The recipe comes together really quickly and easily. For the cups, you can just mix everything together in a bowl. I don’t use my stand mixer for these. Then I press them into mini-cupcake tins. Next, it’s on to the chocolate sauce. This sauce is soooo good you could just drink it from the bowl (and maybe I did that….). It is the best chocolate sauce I have ever had in my life!

I find though that I tend to rip through the chocolate sauce pretty quickly, and I will admit that I might put a lot of chocolate sauce on top of my cups. This is also a reason why I am going through the coconut oil at a pretty high speed. I have to use it on both the cups and the sauce, and I’m making a double batch every time. So when you think of it like that it’s not really too expensive.

The cups are good after an hour, but they are at their best after two hours. I eventually pop them out of the tins and put them in a plastic bag in the freezer. If I make 24 they will last around three, maybe four, days. So yeah, I eat anywhere from four-six on a given day (or at a single sitting!).

These are vegan and raw and they are insanely delicious. I find myself making them ALL the time because they are 019that good!

The Boyfriend ignored these at first. Then he ate one, and then he ate about five more. Like me, he can’t stop eating them.

For a snack, these are very filling and satisfy my sweet tooth. The only downside is you can’t take them to work with you like you could a cookie. The chocolate sauce will start to melt so you have to eat them at home. It takes me about 20 minutes to make a batch and get them in the freezer. If you have a healthier snack – that involves chocolate – let me know. I would love to make it.

Three Years Ago Today on MBYL

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

One Year Ago Today on MBYL

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Favorite Things: Field Roast’s Vegan Cheese

I love Field Roast. I haven’t tried all their products, but I’ve always loved what I’ve eaten. This post is about their new line of vegan cheeses.

I was aware that Field Roast had released three vegan cheeses, but I hadn’t gotten around to going to Whole Foods to get them. I was on my way in to work one day and stopped off at WF to get something for lunch. I checked and saw they had the cheeses! I purchased the Tomato Cayenne with Spicy Peppers. It suits my taste.

The cheese before I ate it all.

The cheese before I ate it all.

I dragged the cheese to my office where it sat in the fridge all day. Then I dragged it to my yoga studio where the instructor very kindly put it in their fridge for me while I took class. I was serious about wanting to try this cheese! Then I ran home to see what it was all about (and I was dying at this point to get at it!!!).

First, let me say that I have had my share of vegan cheeses. I’m not new to the vegan cheese idea. Most have been horrible. There was one I found that did not taste good if I ate it straight, but it worked just fine on a sandwich. The problem is that the brands I tend to like can’t be bought locally so I have to order them. This gets expensive so I stopped doing it.

So I was excited that I could buy some vegan cheese locally, I had high hopes because I had liked previous Field Roast products, but I was also prepared for a strong dose of reality to hit. I’ve just had too many negative experiences with vegan cheeses. But I got down to it and set about making a grilled cheese.

Step One: What does this cheese look like? 

It looked like cheese. It’s sliced like cheese. I could see the peppers in it. We were off to a good start (check out this video to see what the cheese looks like).

Step 2: Hmmm….Maybe I should taste it first?

I was thinking that before I went through all the trouble of making a grilled cheese just to have it taste nasty and

Looks like cheese!

Looks like cheese!

throw it out, maybe I should take a bit of the cheese. Then I remembered the one vegan cheese I didn’t like to eat straight but I liked fine on a sandwich. Ok….I’m committed to making this sandwich no matter what. But what does it taste like straight?

It’s the closest thing to cheese that I have ever had. I ended up eating an entire slice straight (and then later a second one).  It’s pretty good.

Step 3: How does it melt?

Excellent. Works just like a dairy-based cheese.

Step 4: How is this sandwich?

I am addicted. Seriously. I am hooked. I have been eating them almost every day. I am going to be near a WF tonight, and I am buying about five more packages of the stuff. It will keep in the fridge for months (it says not to freeze it), but I am plenty confident in my ability to work through five packages without a problem. I seem to be needing a pack a week.

The cheese runs a little over 5.00 a pack for 10 slices. It is completely worth the money. I am excited to see what else I can do with the cheese in the near future (and the Field Roast site has some suggestions). For now, I am loving myself a simple vegan, grilled cheese sandwich. Toss in a Caesar side salad a’la Thug Kitchen and you’ve got yourself a quick and delicious lunch (and 100% vegan).

Three Years Ago Today on MBYL

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

One Year Ago Today on MBYL

Favorite Things: Wholly Guacamole

I have briefly noted my love for wholly guacamole back when I made vegan toast. My love affair with them just continues to grow. Their product is just so freaking perfect and solves all my issues with avocados. Yes, I have issues with avocados. Basically, I love them but:

  • they are expensive
  • I can never eat an entire avocado at once
  • I can’t figure out what to do to keep my leftover from going bad and I am tired of trying to figure it out.

Wholly Guacamole solves all these issues for me. Their product is not expensive. It doesn’t not matter how much I eat (or don’t eat) at once, and it saves just fine. It’s also delicious.

I first got addicted to their Avocado Verde. It’s got jalapenos in it, and it’s a little spice. You can get non-spicy items if you’re not into it. The Avocado Verde is what I was using on my toast.

Avocado Verde in action

Avocado Verde in action

But then, one day I went to the store and they were sold out! Nuts! So I picked up a mini-pack of guacamole. Also totally delicious. The great thing about the guacamole – I’m not sure if this is the case with the Avocado Verde – is that you can freeze them. So if I don’t eat all my guacamole, I don’t have to toss it out! I love this stuff. And FYI: the mini-packs save. I use about half of one on my toast, cover it back up, put it in a zip lock bag, and it keeps just fine.

You can use this stuff on just about anything. Obviously you can dip chips in it (which, oddly enough, I have not done). You can use it to make the vegan toast. You can add cucumbers onto the vegan toast by the way and that is also delicious. You can put it on a salad. I recently put some on a salad and the salad was soooo good I ate it and forgot to take a picture to show you. In case you need some inspiration, they have recipes for you. I’m already thinking the deconstructed guacamole looks like a necessary thing to eat.

I found Wholly Guacamole by accident one day in the produce section. It was hanging out in a case next to freshly prepared salsas. I’m addicted. Completely and totally addicted. Mostly I am thrilled to be able to enjoy my avocado eating without having to deal with the purchase of an actual avocado.

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

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It’s Not January – It’s Veganuary!

Forgive me, for I am a little late to the game on this one. Recently, I came across this great website which challenges you to go vegan for the month of January. It’s called Veganuary.

You might recall that I did a 30-Day vegan challenge a couple of years ago. The challenge wasn’t always easy for me, but it was worth it. I did struggle with learning how to approach eating as a vegan and shedding my old dietary habits. But it was worth it because it caused me to think deeply about what I ate and why I was eating it.

hello veganWhile I wasn’t 100% vegan during my challenge (I had at least one slip up), I was pretty close – like 99% close. And when it was over, I chose to remain eating vegan. Over time, I have recognized that eating out as a vegan is difficult. In some cases – due to work reasons – I find myself in a position where there’s nothing vegan around me (or soooo very little). So I go vegetarian. It works.

I went vegetarian, and was probably vegetarian for almost a year, before I embarked on a vegan challenge. For me, it was a necessary step. I had to completely redo how I thought about food and rethink what I ate. Veganuary might sound like something you’re ready for, and it might not. But – if it’s not – consider if you can challenge yourself to rethink one thing about your daily eating habits.

For example….

  • Could you give up eating meat at breakfast? Or eggs? You could replace it with this vegan toast.
  • Could you give up butter? Try replacing it with Earth Balance.
  • Could you take part in Meatless Mondays (or just any single day of the week?)?

Of course, you might be wondering why you would want to be vegetarian, vegan, or even scale back on animal products all together. And the reasons could be numerous, but as far as your health goes, it’s going to help you with your weight, blood pressure, and even cholesterol. Well – it could. Because it’s easy to be vegetarian and eat garbage (and remember that oreos are vegan! not gonna do to well if you eat them by the bag full though, right?).

I view vegetarian/vegan eating as a way to be more mindful about what I eat and why. You can, of course, be mindful at any meal no matter what you eat. But for me, I see the idea of Veganuary as being presented with an opportunity to be more mindful even if one isn’t a full participant. It is a great way to take a step back from our daily eating habits and consider what we are eating and why we are eating it. Then, if we want to, it’s also an opportunity to consider eating in similar or different ways.

Veganuary doesn’t have to be an all of nothing event. I encourage you to use this as a way to explore your diet and the effect your diet has on your practice.

Featured Recipe: Spaghetti with Lemon & Parmesan

This is a vegetarian recipe that is Boyfriend approved. Actually, The Boyfriend is starting to catch on to the fact that my vegetarian and vegan cooking is very tasty and not at all terrifying.

I wanted to do a very simple dish that can be thrown together in a pinch. And I believe the author of today’s recipe  pretty much just invented the sauce based on things she saw lying around in her fridge. So you may already have what you need.

The thing to know about this recipe is that I read it a hundred times because I couldn’t believe I wasn’t supposed to heat the sauce. The recipe calls for you to make a sauce that includes:

1 cup (250ml) cream
3 cups finely grated Parmesan/Pecorino cheese
juice and rind of one lemon
1tsp Dijon mustard

However, nowhere does it say that the sauce is to be heated. You mix it all up and toss it onto cooked spaghetti. I had the cream, but I was too lazy to grate the parm. I just threw a block into the food processor. So this is what I got:

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You can already see I’m dealing with chunks here. I think I thought the chunks would melt when I put them on the hot spaghetti. They did not, and I got a meal that looked like this:

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Not bad – but chunky (and totally my fault). However, later on The Boyfriend made it again with leftover sauce. He heated the sauce and melted the cheese down. It was fabulous! So – if you are lazy like me and don’t want to grate, that’s fine. I don’t think you have to. However, I do recommend that you heat up the sauce. It was fine added directly to the spaghetti, but it was even better when it was heated up.

Ok – simple vegetarian spaghetti meal. What more could you ask for? Perfect for the winter.

Challenge Update! Days 9-15

I found myself really struggling this week. I had lots of classes where I was sitting out postures and just couldn’t even imagine standing up. At first I thought I was tired. I was coming to the end of an insanely busy three weeks. Then I thought I hated yoga. I wasn’t quitting or anything – don’t get me wrong. But I was pretty sure I hated yoga and had developed a horrible attitude (or mattiude because my hatred only showed up when I got on the mat).

Then I remembered something. Back when I did my first challenge (66 days), I had to start taking supplements. Somehow, I figured out that I needed to be taking magnesium and potassium. I started to think that perhaps this was what I needed to do here. I knew I wasn’t having any hydration issues, but I just felt so run down on and off the mat. I figured it couldn’t hurt. So I hauled my butt to the store and bought those supplements.

b12In addition, I started taking a B12 vitamin everyday. B12 is a really important vitamin for vegetarians and vegans to take. If you eat meat, you are getting your B12. If not, then you’re not. Pretty simple. You can get enough B12 as a vegetarian, but as a vegan it is really difficult. Vegans can get B12 through nutritional yeast, but I don’t use nutritional yeast daily. By the way, if you have not used

I had transitioned back to a predominately vegan diet. Once in awhile I would have a meal that was vegetarian. So I realized that some or all of the difficulties I was having could be connected to needing B12, magnesium, and/or potassium in my diet.

I’ve been taking B12 daily for at least a week now, and I’ve been taking the magnesium and potassium daily for four days. I feel so much better. Nothing else has changed in my diet. I am more coherent and don’t feel run down at all. My classes have slowly started getting better. In my last two I haven’t needed to sit out any postures – and I’ve been sitting our postures for at least a couple of weeks. It got so bad I couldn’t remember when the last time it was I felt I was capable of doing camel.

I say all this to remind you that if you are practicing a lot (or doing a challenge!) it is important to evaluate how you feel physically, emotionally, intellectually, etc… If you notice a negative pattern, it could be because you are simply tired, but it’s important to take the time to really engage with what you are experiencing and consider why it might be occurring. Making small changes to your diet or some other aspect of your life might be in order.

Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Panini

I’m still working on trying out new vegetarian/vegan recipes. Recently, I went to Whole Foods and bought a log of goat cheese because Whole Foods is the most economical place to buy goat cheese – believe it or not! I was planning to make the goat cheese and caramelized onion pizza again when I remembered I had this recipe sitting around for a goat cheese panini.

The sandwich was super easy to make. It takes about all of 10 minutes from start to finish. First, get out your bread. I used sourdough that I bought at Target earlier that day, but you use whatever makes you happy. Put some goat cheese on one side and the olive tapenade on the other like so:

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Then, add your roasted red peppers and spinach. I used roasted red peppers from a jar (that makes things go faster). The recipe called for spinach. I did not have any so I used a piece of romaine lettuce. It worked. Unfortunately, I took the world’s worst picture of the pepper and lettuce being added so you will have to use your imagination here.

Get some butter (or Earth Balance or olive oil) going in your pan and toss your sandwich in. I used a plate with a soup can on top to smoosh mine down a bit.

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That’s tapenade on the plate. The soup can is not leaking.

Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, and you are done!

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This sandwich easily became on of my favorites. It is not yet Boyfriend approved, but that’s just because he hasn’t been around to try one. I imagine he would like it. It’s very filling and doesn’t need anything else to go with it. You could make one half this size and serve it with soup or a salad.

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

One Year Ago Today on MBYL

 

 

 

 

 

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