Tag Archives: maple

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

Granola Love

Welcome to my new self-hosted WordPress blog and happy late Valentine’s Day!

I made a couple batches of granola recently, one from The Candle Café Cookbook and one from 500 Vegan Recipes. Both were totally different kinds of granola, but delicious in their own right. :)

The Candle Café Granola was really interesting in that it used steel cut oats as well as regular rolled ones, which I’ve never done before. Plus, it called for coconut oil and maple syrup–the best fat and the best sweetener! This granola came out super crunchy, with no clumps whatsoever–almost like a cross between granola and muesli.

Unfortunately, I had barely any of the ingredients that it called for, so I subbed sesame seeds and pine nuts for the sunflower seeds and walnuts, dried orange cranberries and candied ginger instead of currants, and extra almonds for the coconut. Now that I think about it, I think my version is better. Much more exotic–it had a really exciting flavor that you couldn’t quite put your finger on!

Then I made a recipe I’ve been dying to try since Celine first posted it at Have Cake, Will Travel: PB&J Granola!

This was a much healthier, more subtly sweet granola made with rolled oats and brown rice flour (or at least I think I used brown rice flour–we forget to label our plastic bags of bulk bin flour sometimes…), with chunks of jam swirled in just before baking. I used strawberry of course! What is UP with those people who only eat grape PB&Js?!

Maybe I underbaked it, but this granola was super soft and chewy. It made GREAT clumps, so if clumpy granola is your thing, then please go buy this book (there are also four or five more phenomenal granola recipes in the book!).

Perfect with bananas and vanilla hemp milk!

Raw Chocolate Cupcakes

It’s a rainy day here in Southern California (I didn’t sign up for this), and the streets are far too flooded to walk around (I just soaked my tennis shoes on the way to the Campus Center), so naturally, I headed to my blog. There are a few things I could post on, but I’ve always found chocolate to be the best remedy for a gloomy day. So I give you, not just chocolate, but Chocolate Cupcakes from Raw for Dessert!

Yep, the same little cuppies who are now gracing my new header, which a few of you were kind enough to comment on!

These miniature cupcakes are super simple and fun to make, like every other recipe I’ve made from Raw for Dessert (see my review). The “cake” is made of dates, walnuts, cocoa powder, and vanilla, and the frosting of cocoa powder, coconut oil, and maple syrup. My sister was a fiend for these!

They’re moist and rich–just like any chocolate cake should be–baked or raw! Man, I wish I had one of these right now. I’ll have to console myself with the knowledge that I’m going to the LA Babycakes tomorrow! ;)

Kabocha Is Taking Over My Life

…And that’s totally okay by me.

If you made the Kabocha Soup from my last post, you probably have half a squash or so left over. Or maybe you don’t–but don’t let that deter you from making the dish I’m about to describe!

Maple-Cinnamon Squash Ringlets
(Scaled down from the Candle Café Cookbook recipe)

1/2 kabocha squash
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch crushed pepper
Pinch sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

With a sharp paring or vegetable knife, carefully cut the squash into 1-inch circles, then halve into semi-circles Lay them side by side on baking sheet. Whisk the olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, pepper and salt together in a small bowl. Brush the oil over the squash rings and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the squash is just tender.

I served my squash ringlets with…no, that’s not hummus! (Though I do love to eat roasted squash with hummus…) It’s Swell Vegan’s Vanilla Lemon Pine Nut Cream! I don’t know what made me think of this luscious raw cream as an accompaniment to my squash, but I’m glad I did! Together, they made for a perfect treat. The only change I might make is to slightly lessen the amount of agave in the pine nut cream because I found it a tad sweet. It’s really lovely though – even made with vanilla extract instead of fresh beans, and omitting the acidophilus. (Because, really, who has acidophilus in their pantry?)

It really does look like hummus though, doesn’t it?! I swear I’m not tricking you.

Three Completely Random Eats

So, I know I went a little crazy in the kitchen for Thanksgiving, but my foodie exploits didn’t stop there. You see, I miss cooking and baking so much when I’m at school, that when I finally have a well-stocked kitchen and the entirety of my cookbook library at my disposal every break, I literally can’t stop! It’s my favorite de-stresser, and that’s what breaks are for, no?

As I was sitting in front of my laptop at the kitchen table the Saturday after Thanksgiving, struggling to find a new way to procrastinate on my thesis, a solitary squash on the counter caught my eye. My mom had accidentally purchased an extra butternut squash for T-day, and I had a feeling that if I didn’t take charge, that plump little guy would just languish there until my parents got sick of looking at it and threw it away. Sorry, mom–I know you can roast a squash, but I could just tell that, post-holiday chaos, it wasn’t going to happen.

500 Vegan Recipes to the rescue! I’d just ordered Celine and Joni’s newest book a few weeks before, and had brought it home with me, itching to try it. The butternut’s fate was decided: Curried Butternut Squash Hummus.

Oh my curried God! This hummus was amazing. But what else would you expect when you blend an entire roasted butternut squash with chickpeas, a tablespoon of curry powder, and other yummy things? The sweet & savory combo at its finest! Great texture too–I’m a thick, chunky hummus fan (except for when I’m not, and I want smooth, creamy hummus, but whatever).

I also made another tester recipe for Celine & Joni’s new book, Vegan Substitutions. The ridiculously simple, but according to my mom for whom I made it, equally delicious, Cinnamon French Toast.

Can’t give away the recipe since it’s a tester, but I think it speaks for itself.

Finally, I made the Peanut Apple Pretzel Drops from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar for our dear friends, the Hillebrands. I think these are so adorable.

According to someoneee in my family, they’d be better with chocolate, but I disagree. Chocolate and apples? I donno. I mean, I’m sure it’d still be good, but I like them the way they are. Yes, chocolate is possibly the best thing ever in any dessert, but does that mean it should be in every dessert? I don’t think so. Sometimes, we need to let other ingredients shine. :) I’m not a sweetist!

Package Swap

I was lucky enough not only to get in on a vegan care package swap this year, but to be paired up with the orchestrator herself, the wonderful Lindsay from Cooking for a Vegan Lover!

For a look at the package I sent Lindsay, click here!
Here’s what I received:

I know, I know, Lindsay’s awesome! In the back we have some Road’s End Organics Golden Gravy Mix–I can already see a nice dorm room dinner with that in my near future–and (also organic!) Pacific Natural Foods Simply Tea in Green Tea Tangerine flavor!

Lindsay’s from Vermont, so she also sent me some VT specialties:

Liz Lovely Gluten-Free Ginger Molasses Cookies (Did you know Liz Lovely was Vermont-based?), and of course, real Vermont Pure Maple Syrup from Kingdom Mountain family farm!

The package also included a mother load of PranaBars, which I’ve never had before, but am really excited about because the flavors are so exotic and healthy! These superfood bars are all organic, gluten-free, vegan, and mostly raw.

Yeha, that’s apricot pumpkin. Can you believe it? There’s also coconut acaí, pear ginseng, cashew almond, apricot goji, and apple pie. These will be perfect pre-run snacks when, come winter break, I start training for the January half marathon I’m doing!

The package also included two packs of Heart Thrive bars, cranberry and chocolate, which I’ve seen before, but never tried (and isn’t that the point of these exchanges? to try things that you might not normally buy because they’re a luxury or you don’t know what they’re like?). I really, really like that they’re heart-shaped. I think eating them will be that much more fun.

Also, as you can see, Trader Joe’s Instant Vanilla Pudding! I’ve seen it in stores, but never realized it was vegan–all you have to do is add non-dairy milk instead of cow’s milk. Sweet. :)

The remainder of the package was lots of fun little trinkets, like milled flaxseed, green tea mints, gummy bears, a JamFrakas bar, and hot sauce.

Thanks so much, Lindsay. This was a great first swap experience, and I’ll definitely be doing more in the future because I had so much fun. Opening the package was like vegan Christmas.

Also–ugh–this is one of those posts where almost every single paragraph ends with an extra word that wouldn’t fit on the line above it. I could try to fix it, but it’s kind of funny. I’m sure all bloggers get annoyed about little things like that, so I’ll leave it as a tribute!

Finally, Maggie at My Breakfast Blog tagged me for “Truth Week,” so here’s my little piece of kind of embarrassing truth: Sometimes when I’m snacking on a jar of peanut butter straight with a spoon (not a plain jar, but fancy, semi-expensive ones like PB & Co. flavors), I’ll make myself put it in the freezer to make sure I save it for more exciting uses than eating it plain, like oatmeal, baking, and fun sandwiches. I’m all for eating PB plain–God knows I do it enough–but when you pay so much for nice nut butters that aren’t always easy to find in the first place, it can kind of suck to go through it so quickly. It’s sad that I have to freeze it, but I just love PB that much. Truth!

Edited to add: HAHA, even my note about my paragraphs ended up with an extra word on another line! FML. I bet it will happen to this one too.

Gluten-Free Sunrise

Two gluten-free sunrises, actually! I’m sure most of you are familiar with Nature’s Path. Not only are they an exclusively organic company, but, as far as I’m concerned, they have yet to make a bad cereal – well, I’ve only tried the vegan ones, but I’d guess that 90% of their cereals are vegan anyways, the main non-vegan offender being the occasional inclusion of honey. I lurrrve their Peanut Butter Granola and my family adores their Flax Plus, especially my dad. He has a bowl of Flax Plus with raisins and bananas every single morning of his life unless I happen to be whipping up some pancakes or muffins, in which case he can usually be prevailed on to leave the Flax Plus in the pantry. He even uses 1/2 soy milk in it! Someday I’ll get him to 100% soy milk – funny story: when I was little, my dad had read that soy is especially beneficial for young girls in early stages of development, so he started diluting my cow’s milk with soy milk, gradually upping the concentration until my little five-year-old self eventually caught on and called him out on it!

Anyways, Nature’s Path makes an insane amount of gluten-free cereals. I tried my first one – Mesa Sunrise – this summer when, with my stomach problems, I was afraid I might have a gluten-sensitivity. It turned out not to be a gluten-allergy (I still don’t know what it was!), but the “scare” got me more interested in gluten-free, or at least wheat-free, alternatives because I, like most of you, eat a lot of wheat, and too much of anything isn’t a good thing. A large percentage of wheat is genetically-modified too. Finally, even if wheat isn’t unhealthy per se, it’s not as nutrient-packed as other grains like quinoa.

So, you can imagine how excited I was when, at work at the Weil Lifestyle office this summer, one of my coworkers announced a shipment of Nature’s Path cereal samples had arrived. The chance to sample unreleased cereal from one of my favorite health food companies in the world? And gluten-free cereal? And one of them is MAPLE flavored? Um, hello!

I present to you Crunchy Maple Sunrise and Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise, Nature’s Path’s two new gluten-free options. Maple Sunrise:

As you can see, it has a great texture. Although I enjoyed the Mesa Sunrise I tried over the summer, the flakes were a little monotonous. These new cereals have flakes and various sizes of puffs. Yummy, and keeps you on your toes!

Here’s the Vanilla Sunrise, served with Trader Joe’s new Whole Grain Milk (which is also really good – have any of you guys tried it?):

I really liked both cereals, but as I’m a bit of a maple fanatic, it was obviously my favorite of the two. And yes, they are sweeter than something like Flax Plus, but sometimes that’s okay! I’d say they’re on the sweeter side of healthy. That’s a nice way to put it, isn’t it?

According to this article, they should be on sale next week (September 13th!), so go get ’em!