Raw Pecan Pie

Hello, everyone! Yes, I’m alive, but make no promises as to the frequency of my posts henceforth. I’m never going to be a super regular blogger – I’m just too much of a space cadet. Wait, what was I talking about?…just kidding. But yeah, I’ll post from time to time when I have something worth showing you! Also, I’ve decided to transition my blog into more of a general healthy living blog. My main interest in blogging is to have a place to display my photography, whether it’s food, pets, friends, travel, you name it. So that’s that.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! This year marked the first time that I celebrated with only my immediate family, so mine was quiet, but honestly, that is exactly what I needed after a rough midterm #3 in O-Chem. Despite the fact that there were only four of us – well six, counting the two dogs (yes, I said TWO dogs…my sister just got a new puppy, who I’ll introduce you to soon!) – we somehow ended up making at least ten different dishes. In fact, so many dishes that we lost track of them and my sister ended up completely forgetting to serve her coconut milk creamed corn. #FirstWorldProblems.

Of course I whipped up a batch of my famous mashed cauliflower, but the sweetest (in both senses of the word!) thing I made was Kimberly Snyder’s Raw Pecan Love Pie. I don’t really eat sugar anymore, but I’ll make an exception for a date- and maple syrup-based raw dessert on special occasions and holidays. I’ve followed Kimberly’s blog for years, and always thought this pie looked cute. Well, it turns out it is as delicious as it is cute…

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The only change I made to the original recipe is that I used Brazil nuts instead of walnuts in the crust since Oh! Nuts had kindly just sent me a bag of their jumbo raw Brazil nuts to sample. I love the unique flavor of Brazil nuts. Plus, who doesn’t want to get like 500% of their daily value for selenium while eating pie?

Another fun fact: the dates I used were from my friend Cody’s family date farm in California! They are so much moister than the dates you can buy at the health food store.

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Back to my regular sugar-free routine of course, but I’m glad I had the chance to indulge a little with this lovely pie! Try it yourself this holiday season (link is above) if you’re into dessert, but not so into gluten, eggs, dairy, and sugar.

April Pupdate

I haven’t taken many food shots lately, but with the new love in my life – my Canon 5D Mark III – I can’t wait any longer to post some photos. My last post on my dog Rupert was pretty popular, so I thought some of you animal lovers might be interested in a little pupdate on the most charming member of the Kuby family.

Rupert’s as goofy as ever, and though not quite as badly behaved as he was in his younger days, we still find his snout in the wine bucket from time to time…

I’d love to regale you all with stories of Rupert’s triumphs and adventures since the last time you saw him, but honestly, all he really does is lie around the house in various odd locations for shamelessly long amounts of time.

…But does he ever look cute doing it!

Nora Kuby Photography for VegNews

Anyone who knows me knows that I am my own toughest critic, so when I say that you don’t need to tell me it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I last Pride & Vegudiced, I mean it. In Jane Austen’s own words, “Oh! do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.” :)

No, but seriously, my life’s been a bit of a roller coaster since last June. I’ve experienced a few hard knocks in my personal life (but have lived to tell the tale and would like to believe I am stronger for all of it!); I left my wonderful job at DrWeil.com to return to school at ASU to take pre-med classes with the possible goal of becoming a nutritionist, naturopath, or integrative doctor myself (I want to be just like Dr. Weil, but less hairy and more vegan!); I finally left my parents’ house and moved in with my good friend Allison near campus; and, in December, I began working at my favorite restaurant (literally, my favorite restaurant in the entire world, and, as an English minor, I never misuse the word “literally”…), Pomegranate Café. It’s organic, almost entirely vegan, and so gosh darn lovely that it deserves its own post, so you can look forward to that!

Some other things I’ve been up to since we last spoke include getting a haircut I severely regret; dressing up as Hermione and waiting 20 hours in line with my sister and good friends, Laura and Bear (dressed as Dobby, Bellatrix, and Luna, respectively) for the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, where I simultaneously experienced unadulterated joy, communal paroxysms of grief, and the end of my childhood; meeting my hero, vegan author and inspirational speaker, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of Compassionate Cooks, when she came to speak at ASU (thanks to my mom’s event planning); playing lots and lots of soccer; finally upgrading to an iPhone 4S from my sad, sad EnV2 (a.k.a. the glorified calculator); shooting my first wedding (for my beautiful friend Lindsay!); completing the giant, full-spread, 700+ clue Thanksgiving crossword almost on my own; spending ten days in Jamaica with my dad’s side of the family; and not caring about the Super Bowl for the 24th time in my life.

Also since we last spoke, both my mom and little sister have joined the vegan wolf pack! (My sister actually revealed to me that she was going vegan by adapting the famous “wolf pack” speech from The Hangover to refer to her joining my vegan wolf pack  - it was hilarious and I will have to post the full transcript at some point…) Having two of the people I love most in this world adopt the same joyful lifestyle that has shaped me into the person I am today is extremely gratifying; it also taught me that leading by example can be more powerful than vegangelizing. I love that they came to veganism on their own once I stepped down from my vegan soapbox. I’m so proud of them!

As cute as my mom and sister are, I know you’re all here for the food porn. I’m happy to inform you that, despite not blogging for eight months, I haven’t quite abandoned food photography. In fact, quite the contrary: I’ve become a recipe photographer for everyone’s favorite vegan publication, VegNews Magazine! I’m currently working on my fifth assignment for the magazine, which will appear in this year’s May-June issue, but I thought I’d share my first four published photos with you all, just in case you’re not all avid VegNews subscribers!

My first (and I must say, favorite) published photo was Robin Robertson’s Thai Lettuce Bites in the July-August 2011 issue. The flavors and colors were poppin’…

Next up, Gena Hamshaw’s Vanilla Almond Milk, featured in the September-October 2011 issue. This vegan’s made plenty of almond milk in her day (I actually own a black and white shirt that says, “Got nut milk?”), but this recipe was quite possibly the best.

For the November-December 2011 Holiday Issue, I whipped up another Robin Robertson creation: Classic Fry Bread (click for the recipe!).

Finally, the most recent (March-April 2012) issue of VegNews features my photo of Allison Rivers Samson’s Fresh Mushroom Ceviche:

That’s all I’ve got for now, folks. Thanks for sticking with Pride & Vegudice despite my extended absence – I will try to post at least once a month from this point forward, especially once I get my greedy little hands on the imminent Canon 5D Mark III. If that doesn’t motivate me to photograph everything in sight (including food), I don’t know what will!

Cheesy Kale Chips

I contemplated calling them “Cheezy” Kale Chips, but I’m so sick of putting names of vegan things into quotations! Anyone else? It’s still REAL food! Yes, cheese generally refers to a substance made from cow’s milk, but it can also be made out of nut milk, or – in this case – blended cashews. So there! “Cheeze” and “mylk” are two words you’ll never hear come out of this vegan’s mouth. Let’s reclaim the language! :)

I had a nice, big bag of raw cashews generously sent to me by Oh! Nuts and I thought a batch (or two) of my favorite raw snack would be the perfect way to make my way through them. I was right, as usual.

There are various renditions of this recipe floating around the internet, but here’s my super cheesy (a.k.a. super noochy) take on it!

Cheesy Kale Chips
(Makes: It doesn’t matter because you’ll eat them all in one day anyways)

1 bunch curly kale
1 cup cashews (soaked for a couple hours)
1 red bell pepper, deseeded
Juice of half a lemon (2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

Remove the toughest parts of the kale stems (save them for a green smoothie, green juice, or add them to a stir-fry!), and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces.

Whenever I’m working with leafy greens – especially for this recipe, where I want the pieces of kale to be as dry as possible so that the coating will stick as well as possible – I find it easier to cut or rip up the leaves first, and wash them afterward by submerging them in a bowl of water. Then I swish them around with my hands a little so any debris can float to the top, drain them, and dry them in a salad spinner!

Place kale pieces in a large bowl (you want enough room so that you can mix the coating in later without having to deal with leaves falling out of the bowl!)

To make the cheesy coating: combine soaked cashews, bell pepper, lemon juice, nutritional yeast (nooch), and sea salt in a blender or food processor (a high-speed blender like the Vitamix is best), and run for a minute or two until smooth.

Add the cheesy coating to your bowl of kale and massage it in with your hands. Don’t worry too much about uneven distribution, as the big globs taste delicious in the final product!

For raw kale chips (my method of choice, as they will retain the nutrients and enzymes of all the healthful ingredients!): place on dehydrator screens and dehydrate at 115 degrees until crispy. The time will vary, but make sure ALL the moisture is gone and they are genuinely crunchy.

Alternatively (if you don’t have a dehydrator), spread kale pieces on parchment paper on baking trays, and bake at 200 degrees until crispy, about 45 minutes (but again, all that matters is that they MUST be crunchy).

Once you’ve tried the basic recipe, feel free to spice things up – literally! Sprinkle some cayenne into the coating mixture for a nice kick, or add some garlic or onion powder, cumin, or dill!

Happy Easter!

From your favorite Austen-admiring half-Jew!

I’m on a 28-day raw food detox program with my newly vegan mother (!!!), so for now I’m eating lots of rabbit food – in addition to fish food (i.e. algae), which isn’t quite as tasty – like these gorgeous rainbow carrots from my local Tempe Farmers Market.

Don’t you think it’s more appropriate to celebrate easter by eating like a bunny rather than dyeing/eating eggs from an industry that grinds male chicks alive? Yeah, I think so too.

My finger-lickin’ raw nacho kale chip recipe to come soon!

The Maple

Is an outrageously decadent – almost to the point of incivility – brunch sandwich enough to atone for my absence of the past month? I can only hope so. (This is NOT an April Fools’ joke.)

When Marly of Namely Marly asked me to join a panel of 10 vegan bloggers whose mission, should they choose to accept it, would be to veganize Endless Simmer’s America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches, I immediately responded not only “yes,” but that I desperately wanted to do “The Maple,” a brunch-time beast consisting of two slices of maple-currant bread pudding loaded with savory sausage, chipotle cheddar cheese, and tangy shavings of fresh fennel. Not only does this sandwich hit the sweet/savory note that we all know and love, but it’s from Portland – irrefutably known to be the best city in the country. And, as a gluten-free vegan, I could not resist veganizing a meal from a restaurant called Meat Cheese Bread. There’s something irresistible about such blatant irony.

Although I’m quite a competent (dare I say talented?) chef, I’m not exactly known for my recipe-creating abilities, so I tried not to push my luck. I made Maple “Bread Pudding” with millet bread, using Isa’s recipe for “Fronch Toast” in Vegan with a Vengeance, as well as her recipe for “Tempeh and White Bean Sausage Patties” from the same book. I substituted some Maple Caramelized Onions for the fresh fennel because, as far as I’m concerned, fennel is a villainous vegetable – a regular Mr. Wickham of the plant kingdom, if you will.

I did, however, venture into the world of cheese sauce, devising my own recipe for Chipotle “Cheddar” Sauce, which I will provide here for your pleasure! It makes plenty of extra to be used on nachos, in burritos or quesadillas, or as a topping for veggies!

Without further adue, here is my recipe for Chipotle “Cheddar” Sauce, one element of my sandwich. For the full recipe and assembly instructions for The Vegan Maple, head over to Marly’s blog – you’ll find the nine other sandwiches in the series listed immediately following my recipe.

So close your eyes, pretend you’re huddled up for brunch in a cozy lodge somewhere in New England’s maple country, and enjoy! And don’t forget to schedule an hour or two for digestion after eating this sandwich! ;)

Breaking news: America’s Best Sandwiches – Veganized! is now featured on the Huffington Post! Please go comment/like it/share it/tweet it to spread the word and score some points for vegankind. Can’t hyperlink (thanks, WordPress), so: http://huff.to/e3XDhr

Caramel Baked Apple(s)

The recipe was for Caramel Baked Apples plural, but I just made one. Not very economical, but kind of cute nonetheless.

My family was having baked apple pancakes for a special breakfast – delicious, I’m sure, but also full of gluten (which I don’t really eat anymore)! I’m not one to be left out of a party though – especially when that party involves food – so I had to find a suitable replacement: apple-based, but totally decadent. I immediately remembered the recipe for Caramel Baked Apples from Celine and Joni’s new book, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, and I knew that’s where my breakfast destiny lay.

You can’t really go wrong with a recipe described as, “Lots and lots of caramel to cover something healthy, therefore making it, well, not so healthy anymore.” Plus, making your own caramel from scratch makes you feel like a total culinary badass. And being vegan is awesome. So making homemade vegan caramel is just like…wow, too cool for school.

Caramel whipped up, I filled my Granny Smith with the called-for Sucanat/almond/cinnamon/raisin mixture, popped it in the oven, and was greeted 50 minutes later with a natural package of caramel-y bliss.

I don’t think this is the kind of apple a day that keeps the doctor away.