Tag Archives: raspberries

Happy Halloween! Quesadaiya and Chocolates!

Happy Halloween, everyone! After Thanksgiving, it may be my favorite holiday. Okay, so I really like Christmas and Hanukkah too–shoot me!

My costume this year is GREAT – I’m being one of my favorite characters in all literature/pop culture: Alice (in Wonderland). I’m so excited to get ready and go out with my friends, although the big 5-college party here, Harwood Halloween, is pretty disgusting (Imagine thousands of drunk, sweaty, scantily clad students in a dark, underground parking garage; liberties are taken). I won’t be getting crunk, as it were, but I do plan on having a lot of fun and looking illegally cute.

What’s the perfect Halloween treat? Orange and black quesadilla, of course! Or should I say, quesaDAIYA?!

Cheddar Daiya cheese +black beans + Food for Life Whole Grain Gluten-Free Brown Rice Tortilla = not only appropriately festive and absurdly delicious, but absolutely allergen-free! Daiya, made of cassava root (a.k.a. tapioca) is free of soy, casein, lactose, gluten, eggs, corn, and nuts, and the tortilla is as it’s named–gluten-free! In other words, move over casein-dillas! There’s no one who can’t enjoy the comforting richness that is a quesadilla! I swear I’m done with quesadilla wordplay.

Of course, being the good little vegan that I am, I added some veggie power in the form of bell peppers, red onions, and fresh cilantro.

I’ve had Daiya on zpizza before, but this was the first time I’d used it myself. I picked up a pack of both the Cheddar and Italian at Whole Foods yesterday, along with the tortillas, craving the microwave quesadillas of my childhood after-school snacks.

Daiya definitely delivered. It literally melted exactly like cow’s milk cheese in the microwave, and tasted phenomenal. The tortillas were great too! I’ve never had them before.

Stringymeltylovelovelove.

CHOMP.

Of course, you can’t have Halloween without candy. But I’m classy, so I went with some fancy vegan chocolates that my wonderful vegan superstar friend Stephanie got me from Whole Foods.

One.

Two.

Three.

The first one was your basic chocolate caramel. Except better, because it definitely had a hint of warm autumn-y spices. The second was also caramelish, but with a nice, crunchy almond in the center. My favorite by far, however, was the raspberry jam-filled apostrophe! (Haha, isn’t that the best way to describe that shape?!) It was not only printed with a gorgeous design, but the gooey, sugary filling was to die for. Plus, it reminded me of oozing, bloody guts, which is perfect for Halloween.

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Detox for Me, Pancakes for Family

I’m not complaining though–I’ve actually been really enjoying my detox bowls! Moving on from my attempted raw food week (BAD IDEA for the way I was feeling), my friend who’s had similar stomach issues recommended this 10-day detox cleanse. I know it’s Martha Stewart, so shoot me. Dr. Weil used to be featured in Body + Soul, so I think that gives it some credibility. :)

The detox basically consists of waking up to a cup of hot lemon water, exercise (for me, my 1/2 marathon training), a fruit smoothie or oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, a legume/whole grain/veggie bowl for lunch, a veggie/whole grain bowl for dinner, and another cup of lemon water before an early 10 pm bedtime. Ginger tea is also recommended after lunch and dinner, and snacks are options too: apples/pears + almonds (I’d use almond butter) and carrots/celery with hummus. Yes, it’s kind of restrictive (the hard part is cutting salt), but it has been making me feel better and hopefully it will hold me over until I can see a doctor!

After my 4-mile run and jump in the pool this morning, I had a raspberry-cinnamon almond milk smoothie. For lunch I had a brown basmati rice bowl with made-from-scratch chickpeas (I’ve never done that before, with the soaking and everything! except for lentils, that is…), steamed kale, and a cucumber soy yogurt sauce I concocted.

I didn’t miss the salt. I loaded my rice with turmeric, garam masala, dill, cumin, ginger, black pepper, and lemon juice. It had an incredible freshness that salty food often doesn’t have. The yogurt sauce was soy yogurt, cucumbers, cilantro, silken tofu, coriander, paprika, cumin, and lime juice. Again, it was nice and light without the salt, and all together, it was a very satisfying lunch bowl.

For dinner, I used the same rice and sauce, but had steamed white sweet potatoes and beet greens instead of the kale and chickpeas (the cleanse calls for no protein at dinner for some reason). I’ve never steamed sweet potatoes before–I was surprised how quickly they cooked!

Sure, The Love Bowl, with its salty sauce and baked tofu, was “tastier,” but I’m still thoroughly enjoying these more grounded, macrobiotic bowls, especially because I know they’re what my body needs right now!

My family however, is not on detox. Not that the Banana Cream Pancakes from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan are unhealthy–on the contrary, there’s no added sugar or fat besides the sweetness of ripe banana and the richness of coconut milk. But still, they have three things I don’t wanna eat right now: salt, sugar (the maple syrup), and gluten. However, I have made these before and can attest to the fact that they’re delicious! They fluff up beautifully and don’t leave you feeling heavy afterwards, like some carby breakfasts do.

Maple syrup waterfall. Pancake love.

Carrot Bisque, Berry Muffins, and Norabars

My kitchen has been a happenin’ place of late! First up, the deliciously simple Carrot Bisque from Vegan with a Vengeance! I like the short ingredient list on this guy–I love intricate recipes, but sometimes I’m just not up for a 1/2 page-long spice list! Most of the flavor comes from (light) coconut milk, curry powder, and a touch of maple syrup.

Garnished with soy yogurt for some added refreshing creaminess!

At my mama’s request, I also made the Bakery-Style Berry Muffins from Vegan Brunch using blueberries and raspberries! I’ve made these before, but in my muffin top pan, which didn’t work as well as I’d hoped–they sort of came out like small, thick pancakes, and didn’t get crispy at all.

I think the way to go for killer, crispy muffin tops is just to overfill the tins (as Isa mentions in Vegan Brunch herself). She says to go for 10 for big tops, but I did 9. The batter was pretty thick, so each tin was probably filled a little over the top. They were much nicer than the flattish muffins I usually make, but next time I’m doing 8, so I can get–I don’t know if this is the best way to describe it–like, giant mushrooming tops. Haha.

How cute is that! I got such a shock when I was taking this shot and found myself in a staring contest through my Rebel’s viewfinder. He’s winking! I named him Berry Bob.

What a crumb.

I also made my own energy bars yesterday! I haven’t told you guys yet, but I signed up for the Disney Half-Marathon on September 6th with my good friend Chelsea from Pomona. I’ve always wanted to run one, and when she asked me to do it with her, I knew it’d be a great opportunity! I’ve never done anything like it before (I played soccer for 10 years, and 1 year in college, so at least I’m semi-athletic), and the most I’ve ever run at once was 5 1/2 miles in 8th grade at my summer camp’s race. But, I’ve found a training schedule, so I should be good!

Anyways, my point is, I wanted a good pre-run snack because I’ve discovered my body can’t handle very much food before I run. My stomach needs to be as empty as possible, but I obviously need fuel. So, semi-bored of the few Larabar flavors we always have, I made Norabars! They’re Cinnamon-Pecan with Cacao Nibs! I actually liked them better than the Larabars I’ve had (but don’t get me wrong, Larabars rock…they’re just expensive).

Cacao-Cinnamon-Pecan Norabars

1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1 cup toasted pecans*
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Process dates into a thick paste (it’s okay if there are chunks). Remove from food processor and place in a small bowl. Pulse toasted pecans until roughly powdered (again, you can leave them as chunky as you want), and add to the bowl of dates, along with the cinnamon and vanilla. Finally, pulse the cacao nibs until they’re slightly broken up, and add those to the bowl as well. Now, get your hands dirty and knead all the ingredients together in the bowl! To make the bars, divide “dough” into 4, place each lump on a piece of saran wrap. Wrap them up, then shape into bars by molding them through the plastic. Chill in fridge for a bit, and there you go! Homemade ____bars (insert your name there). If you’re making a bigger batch, you could also press the dough into a pan and cut it up into bars once chilled.

*Note: You can use raw pecans if you like, but I figured, since my cacao nibs are roasted anyways, I might as well toast the nuts for extra flavor. (It makes them taste more like cookies!)

Makes 4 bars.

Europe Part I: Italian Eats

Freaking finally, right? It only took me a month.

First night in Rome. Pizza Marinara with extra vegetables. Nice and simple, so the tomato and oregano can really shine.

The Beehive. Organic Vegetarian B&B and restaurant in Rome.

No fixed portion sizes or prices. The restaurant looked like a normal house. You just sit down in the kitchen, tell the chef exactly what you want, and he makes it fresh right in front of you.

A delicious mixed salad. Simple, but a welcome relief to the not so vegan-friendly Roman carb fest.

The meze platter my mom and I split, including vegan burger patties and special hummus.

A nice cafe in Montepulciano, a medieval hill town in Tuscany, This was the raw zucchini salad.

The best spinach ever. Just dressed with REAL olive oil and the biggest-ass pine nuts ever.

Lampone-Rosmarino (Raspberry-Rosemary) Gelato from the Pluripremiata Gelatería–Gelato World Champions, 2006-07 and 2008-09–in San Gimgiano.

Potato-Rosemary Focaccia in Cinque Terre.

I know this is an absolutely horrible photo, but it’s RICE MILK GELATO in Lago Orta, Italy! I almost had a seizure when the guy told me it was vegan. So much better than fruit/sorbet gelato.

Stay tuned for Part II: Greece soon!