Tag Archives: peanut butter

Green with Envy

At least that’s how I think you’ll feel as you read this post. You’re welcome.

I don’t think Green has ever come up in my blog before (at least not more than in passing), which is bizarre, considering that it’s been – and continues to be – my favorite restaurant since I went vegan. It’s vegan fast food – okay, maybe not fast food, but quick, comfort food – at its finest.

Green is a completely vegan restaurant in North Tempe, almost in Scottsdale, but not quite. Tempe(h) for the win! Now that I think of it, it’s really the only vegan restaurant I know of in Tempe, and maybe Phoenix. There’s plenty of vegetarian places, many of which have a ton of vegan options or are mostly vegan, but I think Green’s the only one that’s legit enough to not only be 100% vegan, but 500% more delicious than everywhere else.

Green has a mix of Asian and American options, including appetizers and salads, customizable flatbread pizzas, po-boys, sammies, burgers, stir-fry bowls, and, most importantly, the infamous tsoynamis.

This guy used to be a special, but eventually was added to the regular menu. Um, I wonder why?…

The Mexicali burger: Green’s homemade burger patty with organic garbanzo hummus, zesty nacho cheese, vegan mayo and spicy chipotle sauce. With the only side I ever order: tahini coleslaw! On an Ezekiel bun, of course! If you could have your junk food on whole grain bread for only a dollar extra, wouldn’t you do it too? There’s not much to say about this burger except that, like all their sandwiches, the flavors come together just right, providing you with a melty, gooey mess that’s as satisfyingly wonderful as it is difficult to eat without your formerly clean face becoming a casualty of the meal. The coleslaw is cool and rich, with little flecks of peanuts balancing out the creamy tahini dressing. It’s always the perfect foil to the warm and hearty sammies.

This sandwich is a special, and only a special, for now: the Tempeh Reuben!

I’ve never had a real reuben before – if you can even call a sandwich made of ground toxin- and antibiotic-laden flesh “real,” that is – but this one was amazing. Spicy, toothsome tempeh, tangy sauerkraut, and creamy vegan thousand-island dressing. Mmm.

This here is another favorite, not least because it’s oh-so-adorable name.
The Texas “moo-shroom” po-boy: “pulled” and shredded portabella with caramelized onions and peppers slow cooked in Green’s espresso BBQ sauce.

As you can see, they don’t skimp on the filling. It usually takes me a few minutes to eat the stuff outside my sandwich with a fork before I even take a real bite. Not complaining though…

The moo-shroom po-boy is even messier than the Mexicali burger. Just look at how saucy it is. (pun INTENDED!)

Although I usually order sandwiches or stir-fry bowls (their mock chicken is one of my favorite faux meats of all time!), occasionally I’m up for a pizza. My only problem being overcoming my revulsion – fear? haha – of white flour, as I’m pretty sure these aren’t whole wheat flatbreads.

Butttttt, that sentiment is pretty easily overcome when this awaits me:

Green’s namesake, the Greenza! Homemade pesto sauce (basil and pine nut) with vegan mozzarella cheese (they use Teese). This one was topped with artichoke hearts, spinach, and caramelized onions.

Here’s one that my friend ordered! The Western: Green’s vegan BBQ sauce with vegan mozzarella cheese. Jo topped hers with roasted jalapeños and mock chicken because she’s bad-ass like that!

No visit to Green would be complete without the obligatory Tsoynami (Think a Dairy Queen Blizzard, but vegan and 3265561487x more amazing).

Green makes their own vegan “tsoft tserve,” and it’s the best fro-yo style vegan ice cream I’ve ever had. And the mix-ins. Oh, the mix-ins. Imagine every vegan thing you’d ever want on a sundae at your disposal, and that’s how Green rolls. Fruit (berries, bananas, and tropical fruit), multiple forms of chocolate, various flavors of Newman’s O’s, graham crackers, vegan mocha puffs, “captain crunch,” and “berry crunch,” pretzels, nuts, ricemellow fluff, flavored syrups, and of course, PEANUT BUTTER. And not just any peanut butter, organic Maranatha peanut butter. Sometimes they even have special mix-ins, like orange pound cake. There’s about 15 pre-made combos, but I usually design my own.

Here’s the PB&J (Strawberries, PB, and graham crackers) with bananas added:

And a special: the Monsoon, which, if I remember correctly, was chocolate syrup, chocolate cake, and chocolate chips. Of course I had to add PB to it.

I wish I had pics of all the Green meals I’ve had before I got my camera, but that post would be unbearably lengthy, so maybe it’s for the best. But I can guarantee you that this won’t be the last you hear of my favorite restaurant.

Dessert (and Tacos!) in the Desert

Hey guys! Long time, no blog! This post is one of the final installments of my effort to stretch my pre-college food adventures into my already-begun-senior-year life! From this point on, posts will be a bit more sporadic and infrequent. I’m sorry, but I have a one-semester Environmental Analysis senior thesis and English senior seminar among many other stressors and responsibilities. I’ll do my best though. I am baking for the Motley, Scripps College’s coffee house, and heading up the 5 College Vegan/Vegetarian Association (VIVA), so hopefully I’ll have some future posts relating to those activities…

Anyways, I drove up to school last Saturday, and one of my favorite things about the drive is my tradition of stopping at the Native Foods on the way! By the time I reached the Palm Desert location around 6:30, I was famished! What does a starving vegan with a penchant for Southwestern fare order? Um, the Tijuana Tacos, duh?!

Soy taco meat, salsa fresca, Native Cheese, shredded romaine lettuce, and guacamole in grilled corn tortillas! Yes, please! The “Native Cheese” was really good – it tasted like some sort of noochy white-bean paste. I haven’t had tacos in a while, so these hit the spot, not the least because it was pretty warm out and these were fresh and light!

I can’t go to Native without getting the Peanut Butter Parfait. I just can’t. I’ve tried.

Creamy peanut butter blend with crumbled Boogie Bars! (Boogies are Native’s glorified banana bread, complete with almonds, oats, coconut, and chocolate chips!) The menu at Palm Desert actually had a typo and said, “Creamy peanut butter bland,” but I can assure you the parfait is anything but bland!

One day I’ll have to try another dessert there, but for now, I’m good.

Also, I said that going to Native was one of my favorite things about the long, steady drive on the I-10 West from Phoenix to LA. My other favorite thing is the stark, yet beautiful scenery:

Peanut Butter Pancakes and Lotsa Granola

So, I’m back at Pomona College to start my senior year! I’m nervous about the workload and senior thesis and, well, becoming a real person in 9 months time, but am also super excited to be back with my friends and settle in to this new schedule. I’m living with three of my best friends in an adorable suite, and life is good at the moment.

My last few days at home were full of some decadent treats because I knew I’d go back to eating a lot more Hugh Jass (in honor of Shelby!) salads once I was back at the dining hall. I’m not complaining; I do love salads, and there is some pretty decent vegan food here in Claremont – but still. I also knew I’d mostly be having cereal in my room for breakfast – so I wanted to pack in some variety pre-departure. Take, for example, these Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter Pancakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Syrup. I know, I know! The pancakes are from the PPK (but with chips added), and the syrup is Celine’s recipe!

I love this pancake recipe so much! It’s seriously just ground oats, peanut butter, banana, and soy milk (well, and baking powder, and I added chocolate chips and a pinch of salt – but still, super simple!) I liked making pancakes with oats instead of regular flour and the peanut butter-banana flavor was perfectly balanced. Topped with the syrup and fresh bananas, this was the perfect breakfast to have my last day at home. I may have even enjoyed these little love cakes alongside a glass of chocolate soy milk. ;)

A funny thing about the batter was that I had it two days in a row, so I kept it in the fridge overnight, and the next morning, it had turned into oatmeal. Peanut butter-banana oatmeal. The oats had absorbed all the liquid, and it had gotten really thick. It probably would have been delicious as it was actually (minus the baking powder!)

I also made two kinds of granola for my dear little sister, Olivia, who just began her second year at Colgate University in NY (she plays DI soccer there!). She’s a big granola fan, but has pretty high standards. Apparently, standards that Colgate cannot fulfill. So of course she called me! She requested an apple-cinnamon batch, so I made one of those, plus another for experiment’s sake. For the apple cinnamon, I used the recipe for Greg’s Granola in Vegan Lunch Box, but that seems too oddly personal of a name, so I’m going to call it Apple-Cinnamon-Almond Granola, okay?

I followed the recipe except for using all dried apples (instead of apples + raisins), and subbing the pecans with Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Almonds. It came out really well–a little sweet, but not over the top.

I also made Pecan-Cranberry Olive Oil Granola from the New York Times website (subbing the pecans and cranberries for the pistachios and apricots in the original recipe, and switching the cardamom for extra cinnamon). I personally would have made it with the given flavor combo, but Liv is a bit picky and I wanted to make sure she’d like it! I wish I could say I chose to make olive oil granola in honor of my sister’s name (I call her Olive sometimes), but honestly, it just looked really, really good.

Granola mountain!  This was my first time using olive oil in granola (although I have used it in blueberry muffins before and the result was delicious!), and I’d definitely do it again! It gave the granola a super rich, almost “buttery” taste that fat-free granola, or even granola made with canola oil, would certainly not have. This recipe had a bit more sugar (maybe to mask the olive-y taste?), but whatever. A crowd-pleaser for sure!

Be back soon with some more of my last-minute eats at home, including, oh, I don’t know, Teesey nachos and stuffed mochi? Oops. Gave that one away, didn’t I?

PB and J Bread and Sweet Potato Crepes

Okay, I have wanted to make Celine’s PB and J Quick Bread from Have Cake, Will Travel FOR-EV-ER. I finally got around to it this week, and thank god I did! What a freaking good idea.

I followed the recipe exactly, but I left out 2 Tbs each of the PB and strawberry jam to swirl in at the end to make sure that there’d be some visible ribbons of goodness.

This bread is really nice – just sweet enough, but still simple and wholesome. I liked the oat-y taste as well!

And what’s a PB&J lover to do with PB&J bread? Um, put more PB&J on it, silly.

Maybe that is gluttonous, but it felt so right.

As hard as it may be to believe, I’m gonna move on to something even better. The dish I’m about to show you was possibly the most delectable thing I’ve ever made! At the very least, one of the fanciest, and most presentable. Sweet Potato Crepes with Cilantro-Tamarind Sauce from Vegan with a Vengeance! Isa makes this in the Valentine’s Day episode of the PPK cooking show, but I thought that it’s being Tuesday was a good enough occasion for them, don’t you?

Yes, this recipe took over two hours to make. Yes, with the filling, sauce, and crepe batter, it was complicated. Yes, I had to scrounge up some semi-exotic ingredients. Yes, I toasted and ground my own Indian spices. But was it worth it? YES.

The filling is sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, some toasty spices, and coconut milk. The sauce is primarily cilantro, tamarind, cashews, and maple syrup. The crepes are made with chickpea flour (it called for all-purpose flour too, but I subbed spelt, added a 1/4 cup of extra water, and they were perfect, so it’s a forgiving recipe!). It all came together wonderfully. My mom actually thought the crepes had a pleasant slightly sour taste to them, sort of like injera bread, which is fine because injera rocks.

Vegan Camping: Chili Bake and S’mores!

Sorry for the long absence. Sometimes I just get really overwhelmed by photo editing and uploading and I retreat into my virtual cave where no social media can ever find me or make me feel guilty for avoiding it. I’m sure you all know the feeling. :)

Anyhow, my best friend Jo and I drove up to Flagstaff on Saturday with my dog Rupert (THAT was a fun car ride…), and then Jo, my dad, and I camped for a night near Lake Mary, just outside Flag. For most people, I’m guessing camping means Mac ‘n Cheese, hot dogs, and maybe some oatmeal. But in our household–especially when I’m along for the ride – we’re a bit more gourmet. It didn’t hurt that my mom, sister and I had just bought my dad a Dutch oven for his birthday, either! Knowing we’d have the oven, I decided on the Cornmeal Chili Bake from The Everyday Vegan. That just screams “camping,” doesn’t it? I opted to use canned chili instead of making my own because there’s no need to make things too complicated, is there? Plus, TJ’s vegetarian chili is yummy and full of tofu crumbles (that look alarmingly like ground beef, actually)!

I also may or may not have gone to my favorite vegan restaurant Green beforehand specifically to purchase some Cheddar Teese (and ricemilk chocolate for s’mores), and what goes better together than chili and cheddar “cheese?”

So, we just poured the chili in the Dutch oven…

Spread on the cornmeal topping, which was made by whisking cornmeal and seasoning in boiling water on our cooking stove…

Me and my dad! I handled the cooking and he handled equipment logistics…

Put the top on and piled on the coals…

Sprinkled some Teese on a few minutes before it was done, and voilà! Melty comfort food goodness.

The only unfortunate thing was that our cornmeal topping sunk into the chili (I think it boiled because we couldn’t control the oven temperature like you can in a real oven…), but it didn’t matter because it was still delicious and there were still thick chunks of cooked polenta throughout the stew. We ate it with TJ’s Hemp Tortilla Chips for a nice crunch and dipping assistance! I want to make this every time I go camping…

What self-respecting vegans could go camping without at least attempting to reach that pinnacle of camping activities that is the s’more? S’mores are an entirely possible treat to veganize, but they definitely take some work and planning. In the traditional s’more, you have honey-laced graham crackers sandwiching milk-laden chocolate and gelatin-composed marshmallows. Ew, ew, and ew. So what’s a vegan to do? Well, use Sweet & Sara Vanilla Marshmallows (you could use Dandies too!), track down a Terra Nostra Ricemilk Choco Bar, and make your own graham crackers! Here’s Jo and I having some serious vegan best friend time around the campfire, roasting marshmallows:

And the completed s’more:

Sorry the photos are bad, but they were taken without a flash when it was completely dark except for one measly little gas light!

We also made “banana s’mores.” Should I coin that invention? The marshmallows were fine, but they were pretty stale (I have no idea how long ago I bought them…), so after one classic s’more each, we opted for these–banana’s stuffed with peanut butter and ricemilk chocolate, wrapped in tin foil, and nestled into the coals to melt and caramelize!

These were so good. Bananas are better – and healthier – than marshmallows, so what’s not to love? We squashed them between graham crackers once they were done too! Speaking of the graham crackers, I bet you’re curious how I made them! Graham crackers are traditionally made with graham flour - surprise! – which has a specifically altered proportion of bran to germ to endosperm to make them crunchier, but I made Isa’s recipe for Gwam Crackers, which solely uses whole wheat flour.

They turned out great – just sweet enough and lightly kissed with cinnamon.

Schmeared with PB:

Drenched in PB and melted chocolate chips:

Okay, so back to camping food! Breakfast next morning was, you guessed it, Scrambled Tofu from Vegan with a Vengeance. What a classic. And it comes together like this! *Snaps fingers.* I always use a ton more vegetables than the 2 cups of mushrooms called for. This one included zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and bell pepper as well!

We jazzed it up with s’more (and you thought I was done with s’mores…) Teese, and served it with TJ’s Chunky Salsa. I will never ever ever get sick of this meal. Ever.

More photos from camping and hiking!

I think Jo had a better time with my dad than with me…

Rupert has to wear hiking booties because the pads on his paws are sensitive. Poor baby.

And here’s his aggressive side; though I bet you’d chomp like that too if there was a piece of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread schmeared with Maranatha peanut butter in front of you…

Cheese and Chocolate

No, not together. And not real cheese either. Obviously.

So the chocolate fest began on Monday night when my mom commissioned me to make dessert for an early birthday bash for my dad (his actual birthday’s tomorrow, but my sister Livie left for college on Tuesday, so we had to push it up a couple days…). I only recently acquired My Sweet Vegan, and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to take it for a spin. I wish I could say that I chose to make the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie because it’s my dad’s favorite, or something adorably sentimental like that, but really, it was the first decent recipe I found for which we had all the ingredients. :) It was dayummm good though! Here’s my pops blowing out his candles:

Okay, you got me. He’s not 23. Just like my recipe choice, the pie toppers were dictated by what was available.

Mmm. This is definitely a special occasion pie, as it’s LOADED with Earth Balance and sugar, but it was so delicious. I think next time I made it, I would just use the concept of this recipe, but use a super healthy cookie dough recipe like Dreena’s. But it was fun to make this once!

Something else I made recently – okay, so it’s not chocolate, but carob is close enough - Oatmeal Muffins from Eat’n Veg’n. Look at these cuties:

They’re super dense and healthy (mine were especially dense because I only made 10 muffins instead of 18), but in a good way! And they’re wheat/flour-free and sugar-free (besides the carob chips I added). They’re literally just bananas, peanut butter, oats, carob chips, cinnamon, raisins, and a little baking powder! And those, my friends, are a lot of my favorite things. :) They also make a fun template – you can switch up the nut butter, spices, and mix-ins easily.

Okay, another real chocolate recipe. Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Cookies from Simple Treats. This was my first time using this cookbook as well, though I can’t for the life of me imagine why! It’s right up my alley – delicious and healthy baked goods free of refined sugar and flour (they use barley flour instead of wheat flour in all the recipes).

I followed the recipe, but just swirled in a little peanut butter at the end to make them pretty. Did I do a good job? ;) That is not a rhetorical question.

It’s been a long time since I’ve made a cookie where I didn’t replace half the oil with applesauce or something, so this recipe was a welcome change because, with a cup of peanut butter and a bit of canola oil, these cookies achieved a “buttery,” flaky texture that my baking often lacks. I think I generally prefer “hippier,” chewier baked goods, but these were amazing and reminded me of these chocolate almond cookies my mom used to always make for me when I was pulling all-nighters writing papers in high school before I was vegan. :)

Enough chocolate! You want “cheese,” right? Thought so.

Macaroni and “Cheese” Casserole from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook. Look at that cute little curious noodle poking it’s noochy head up into the wide world from it’s cozy bed of bread crumbs:

I didn’t actually have any of this because I was helping my mom out by making it for one of her sick friends. Her friend loves Mac ‘n Cheese apparently, and my mom was going to make her some until I stepped in and set things right. :) It sure smelled good though. If I ever make this for myself however, I will probably quarter the fat or something. Lots and lots of Earth Balance and oil. I was too afraid to alter it for my mom’s omnivore friend because I didn’t want to lower the fat too much and give vegan food a bad rap since I have no experience with this recipe.

Naturally, I wanted something cheesy after making that dish for someone else, so I made the Zucchini Chedda Soup from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook with the optional brown rice added for extra comfort food power.

I’m not really sure I can accurately recall the taste of real cheese, but this tasted pretty freaking cheesy to me. Seriously, if someone else served this soup to me, I would’ve been like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, what are you trying to pull?” The cheddar-cheese color comes from roasted red bell peppers blended up with a lot of nooch and other delicious things. I added a little turmeric and mustard for extra color, too. Look, it even stretches like cheese!

That’s it, except for some bonus smoothies! Here’s a blueberry-banana-cinnamon:

And here’s a yummy green monster, with mango, banana, kale, spinach, spirulina, hemp and flax.

Green smoothies really are the perfect breakfast. I need to have them more like every other day than once a week, which is what I do now. It’s insane how much nutrition you can pack into one Magic Bullet cup.

Did this post acquit me of my laziness in the past few days? I hope so! Oh, and Ruby Red Vegan, I sent your Weil bars out today!

Ginger-Miso Yam Wraps and Giveaway Winners

Yes, I said winners, plural! I decided I’d give away two boxes of Weil bars given that they’re in anything but short supply around here. The winners are Ruby Red Vegan and aTxVegn. I don’t know how to do the screenshot of the random number generator, so please just believe me! Respectively, their ideal bar flavors were fig/almond and tart cherry/coconut. Simple, but delicious combos, if you ask me!

Oh, and did I say there were two winners? Because there are actually three! Surprise! I decided to pick the final winner based on whose ideal bar most piqued my interest – and my appetite! The best idea for a bar flavor award goes to Pistachio and Cardamom, who in keeping with their name, came up with “pistachio cinnamon fig with white chocolate chips!” I just might have to make that sometime…

Congratulations, guys! As it turns out, you can have any of the five flavors (Goji Moji, Chia-Razz, Banana Manna, Chocolada Walnut, or Pistachi-Oh!) of the Weil bars, so please leave me a comment with your email address so we can connect!

For my post-run breakfast today I had the only thing more refreshing than watermelon: frozen watermelon! Seriously, pop some watermelon chunks in the freezer for 45 min to an hour, and you’re golden (don’t put them in overnight – or if you do, thaw them for a while before eating – or they’ll break your teeth!)

Okay, so I know you all want to see another way to eat God’s gift to earth that is the sweet potato! When I saw the recipe for Ginger-Miso Yam Wraps in the September issue (September already?! Jesus…) of the Vegetarian Times, I knew I had to make it. I mean, sweet potatoes mashed with peanut butter, miso, ginger, edamame, cilantro, and tofu, all wrapped in a deliciously fresh collard green leaf? Um, hello!

Okay, they look like something my dog threw up, but they tasted even better than I’d imagined–the perfect combo of sweet, salt, and even spicy, thanks to the ginger and cayenne. Plus, they were perfect for a light summer meal.

Also, last night I helped my sister and her friends make a berry pie with blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries, using the Oil Crust recipe from The Voluptuous Vegan. I promised I’d blog it for them, so here you go!

I bought ingredients for yet another sweet potato dish for this week!…

Peanut Butter-Carob-Cookie Dough Pie

I had an open block of silken tofu, a broken pie shell in the freezer, and just enough peanut butter in the jar. All these things screamed, “PIE!” I wanted to take it further than the typical vegan PB-chocolate mousse pie, though. So what to do? Add some raw cookie dough, switch the chocolate for carob, and call it a (fantabulous) day.

I used Dreena’s Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe for the cookie dough, omitting the baking powder and soda (because I wasn’t going to bake it!), cutting down the sugar a bit (because God knows there will be enough sugar in the pie without it), and replacing the oil with soy milk (because it’s just gonna be dough anyways–why add fat?). Oh, also, when I made it, I only used a 1/2 recipe’s worth of cookie dough, but I’m calling for a full recipe of it here because I think the pie would be better with a thicker cookie dough layer!

Peanut Butter-Carob-Cookie Dough Pie

1 pre-made 9″ whole wheat or spelt pie shell (I use Wholly Wholesome)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Base
1 cup spelt flour
2 Tbs unrefined sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Peanut Butter-Carob Mousse
1 12 oz container of silken tofu
6 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter
6 oz carob chips, melted in the microwave*

*You can use chocolate chips here instead, but I like the earthy sweetness of carob, and even if you think you don’t like carob, don’t worry-it’s taste isn’t super distinctive here as it blends in so much with the peanut butter (my sister didn’t even know it was carob until she saw the titles of my Flickr photos!)

Garnishes
1 banana, sliced very thinly
Peanut butter candies, Peanut butter Newman’s O’s, crumbled brownies, pretzels, etc.

Bake pie shell according to package directions and set aside to cool.

Make the cookie dough:
In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt, and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup with the molasses, vanilla, and non-dairy milk, and stir until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry, along with the chocolate chips, and stir through until just well combined.

Press the cookie dough into the already baked pie shell, and place in the fridge to cool while you make the mousse.

Make the PB-Carob Mousse:
Combine tofu, vanilla, and maple syrup in a food processor, and process until smooth. Add peanut butter and melted carob chips and process until thoroughly blended.

Pour mousse over the cookie dough base in the pie shell, and place in the fridge to firm up a bit before you add the toppings (so they don’t sink or get soggy). When the mousse has firmed up, it’s time to lay on the toppings! I crumbled up some Laura Lee’s Peanut Butter Treats (they taste like Butterfinger insides!) I got at Food Fight in Portland, but you could use chopped Newman’s O’s, crumbled brownies, pretzels, peanuts, coconut, chocolate syrup, whipped “cream,” or even something crazy like Ricemellow.

Finally, lay the banana slices on (if you slice them super thinly, you only need one banana to encircle the whole pie!)

I like this pie straight out of the freezer–it’s almost like a luscious ice cream cake, plus nice and refreshing as a summer treat! But you can thaw it a few minutes before eating if you prefer!

The Love Bowl Is a Little Old Place Where…

…We can eat together!

For dinner two nights ago, I constructed the Love Bowl from You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan! I say constructed because there were so many flippin’ elements to this dish! It was layer upon layer upon layer…of delicious whole food goodness that was totally and completely worth it.

Baked tofu, black beans, and garlic sauteed kale, served over a fluffy bed of yellow and red quinoa, drenched in a gingery peanut sauce, and topped with chopped scallions and toasted black sesame seeds. Does life get any better?

The recipe called for brown rice, but I was feeling quinoa that day. You can also opt to use marinated tempeh or mushroom gravy in place of the baked tofu or peanut sauce, but I’m glad I went the way I did. This love bowl was so easy, healthy, and fun to eat–I, well, loved it. Another thing I like about this kind of dish is that it’s super versatile. You could make it any time without a recipe at all. Just choose your grain, vegetable, legume, prepped tofu/tempeh (or even sweet potatoes or squash!), and your special sauce, and your good to go. makes convenient leftovers too. Here’s a post from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs that I found that speaks to this concept, along with some great recipes!

Also, I don’t know if any of you remember this post, but, post-birthday, I own a lot of those things thanks to my generous parentals! E.g. the peanut butter stirrer, which I used to make the peanut sauce for the love bowl.

It’s a great tool! Just screw it on, and you’re good to crank. And, as if it could get any better, When you’re done and you pull the metal crank out of the lid, a little suction cup where the hole is sucks off all the PB so you don’t have to clean the crank!

And here’s a cool new ingredient (for me, at least) that I used in the sauce: pickled ginger with shiso leaves. ¡Qué Exótico!

I’m gonna give you guys the recipe for this sauce because I think I changed it enough (by lessening the PB and adding soy yogurt) that I can justify it. Here’s a slightly less fattening, less overly salty version (not that you need to worry about that with a dish this healthy…):

Gingery Peanut Sauce

3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup plain soy yogurt (I used Silk)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup tamari
1 (2.1-ounce) package Eden Pickled Ginger with Shiso, with liquid, leaves removed

Combine all ingredients in food processor, and drench your bowl of love with said mixture until fully saturated. :)

Makes about 3 cups.

Finally, a bonus pic of one of a simple, but favorite, dish at Pita Jungle (our family’s collective favorite restaurant in Tempe): the Macro Platter: Mixed beans, brown rice, fresh steamed vegetables, (spicy) tofu and a whole-wheat pita.

Never gets old.

NYC Goodies, July 4th Concert, and the Ridiculous Fantasy Cake of My Dreams

Hey guys! I wanted to include NYC and NJ in my Portland travel post, but maybe it’s better on its own. Two posts for the price of one. Actually, that doesn’t make any sense. Just keep reading.

Here’s some shots of the lovely farmer’s market my friend Jo and I walked through:

We then headed over to Sacred Chow for a lovely brunch! We both ordered the Tempeh Hash, crumbled seasoned tempeh with hash-browned sweet potatoes and browned onions, topped with diced fresh tomatoes & parsley, because who wouldn’t want that? Steamed collards on da side, yo.

This dish would be so easy to make at home too! I’ll definitely have to experiment with it.

Fortunately for us–or should I say me? Jo’s not as insane as I am–Peanut Butter & Co. was literally right across the street from Sacred Chow:

You know I picked up a jar of Mighty Maple! (It’s the one I can never find in stores…) Jo nabbed a Dark Chocolate Dreams, which I’m pretty sure is the best one, so it was a good choice as a popper of her PB & Co. Cherry! We may or may not have snacked on it straight out of the jar as we walked the NYC streets on our way to our 4th of July concert in the park…

Speaking of said concert, it was maybe the best concert of my life. First of all, it was free. Second of all, I was with my 2 best friends, Jo and Grace (who are both in NYC for the summer), and my wonderful aunt and uncle, Showie and Mickey (who came in for the show). Third, and most importantly, it was JENNY LEWIS and CONOR OBERST. Together. In one show. (They even sang together!) They are literally my two favorite artists of all time–I am more intimately attached to their music and work than I can explain. If it helps ring any bells, Jenny is also the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, and Conor is the leading man in Bright Eyes. Anyways, add the fresh air, sunny breeze, and 4th of July buzz, and this concert was basically heaven for me.

Jenny Lewis and band member Jonathan Rice:

“Because institution’s like a big bright light,
And it blinds you into fear and consuming and fightin’
But in the desert underneath the charging sky
It’s just you and God
But what if God’s not there?
But his name is on your dollar bill
Which just became cab fare…”



“Like the citrus glow off the old orange grove
Or the red rocket blaze over Cape Canaveral
It’s been a nightmare to me
Some 1980′s grief
Gives me parachute dreams
Like old war movies
While the universe was drawing
Perfect circles for infinity…”

In the city, we also went to Viva Herbal Pizzeria (vegetarian with plenty of vegan options) and Lula’s Sweet Apothecary (an entirely vegan old-fashioned ice cream parlor), but unfortunately, my camera died. :( However, I’ve found some pics on Flickr of other people’s food from both, so I’ll use those (Hope that’s okay!)

At Viva, I had a slice of the Zen (super anti-oxidant) pizza: green tea-herbed miso tofu, green tea basil pesto, shiitake mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, carmelized onions, sundried tomato, roasted garlic, on a green tea herbed spelt crust. This was hands down the best pizza I’ve had since going vegan (not that I’ve had a lot…).

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user, Roboppy)

Jo got the Canja: diced onions, tomato and garlic marinated in hemp oil, roasted hemp seeds, hempseed nuts, hemp-herbed basil pesto, kalamata olives, tempeh, and roasted garlic on hemp-herbed spelt crust with hemp herbed-miso tofu. What a mouthful! They really integrate hemp into every element of the pizza, don’t they?

At Lula’s I had a Sundae with both Carrot Cake and Peanut Butter Fudge Nut-Based Ice Cream with Hot Fudge, Strawberry Sauce, Crushed Ginger Cream Cookies, and topped with Coconut Whipped Cream and a Cherry! It was as good as it sounds. Next time I’m getting a banana split!

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user, Vanessa52)

Jo and I also had a really wonderufl time in Long Beach Island, NJ at my grandma’s beach house. The house and the island are seriously one of my favorite places in the entire world. They’re everything you could ever want in a vacation spot (actually, I could live there…). Everything there is so classic, from the old-fashioned ice cream parlor (not that I condone its business), to the kooky mailboxes shaped like lighthouses and flamingos, to my grandma’s back deck and upper patios overlooking the bay. Three days was not enough.

Speaking of not getting enough, this cake, OMFG. My grandma surprised me, Jo, my dad, and my cousin Matt–all the summer birthdays–with a cake one night! When she first brought it in, Jo and I obviously appreciated the gesture, but never in a million years presumed that we could actually have some. And then my grandma told us it was vegan and that she had grilled the shop, Foodies, where she bought it, on the ingredients. I don’t know if Jo and I were more touched that she went through the trouble to find this cake, or more amazed that you could even get a vegan cake on that tiny island–and peanut butter at that! I dub this wonderful creation Chocolate Peanut Butter Devastation Layer Cake.

The bottom layer is chocolate cookie crumb cake. I could honestly swear that the middle layer was just straight peanut butter (which isn’t a problem for me obviously, but still–whoa), and the top layer was a very rich chocolate mousse. It was even better cold, straight out of the freezer!

Now that I’m home, I’ll be posting more regularly, so stay tuned!