Napa Love

Vegan MoFo

Visiting Napa never gets old. Going to the farmer’s market, the Oxbox Public Market, and my favorite wineries is always amazing. Oxbox Market is owned by the same company that owns the Ferry Building in San Francisco, both markets feature interesting cuisine and specialized culinary shops. There are several vegan options at Oxbow: C Casa has tacos with white bean filling, roasted potatoes or avocado, Gotts Roadside has veggie burgers and sweet potato fries and Three Twins has sherbet.

 

Trefethen

Barrel Tasting

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Spencer’s Smoothie

Vegan MoFo

SpencerMy dear canine companion, Spencer, has passed away. He lived a good, long 12 years and while he lived with my great aunt and was not technically mine, he holds a place deep in my heart. I lived with my great aunt for 9 months after I graduated college and I totally and completely fell in love with Spencer. A wily and beguiling cockapoo with a penchant for cuddling and being the center of attention, he quickly became the best part of my day. When I would come home from work he’d be waiting for me with hugs and kisses. He also loved the breakfast smoothies I would make. I would always pour some in his bowl for him. And in honor of him I’d like to post a smoothie recipe which I will always remember him by.

Green smoothie

Tropical Green Smoothie

 

Spencer’s Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

1/3 cup frozen mangoes

1/3 cup frozen peaches

1/2 a banana

1 cup kale

1 tablespoon flax meal

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 cup almond milk

Directions:

Add the banana and kale into blender first, so there’s something soft for the blades to work on. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

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27 on the 27th

Vegan MoFo

It’s my birthday today. Turning 27. It seems strange since I still feel like I’m 23. Spending the day with my family at the beach is lovely and relaxing. Drinking wine, sunbathing, and taking in the ocean. There’s something about Carmel that just seems lovelier than most of California’s beaches.

The sweetest thing so far is that my mom, aunt, and grandmother spent several hours yesterday working on veganizing my favorite lemon cake from my childhood. I absolutely adore lemon-based desserts. Coming home to a vegan lemon cake is one of the highlights of my day. Especially since my mom would never have imagined baking a cake without milk an butter. It’s quite satisfying.

The best dessert ever! You can't beat lemon cake

The best dessert ever! You can’t beat lemon cake

That’s it for today. I’m going back to enjoying the beach. I’ll see you all tomorrow!

 

Pre-Birthday Celebrations and Road Trip

Vegan MoFo

I went in to work today and my coworkers had a surprise for me. Since I’ll be out of town tomorrow for my birthday they were prepared to celebrate a day early. My boss had brought me a slice of vegan chocolate cake from Whole Foods and my office mate made vegan chocolate cupcakes with a peanut butter frosting. It was heart-warming to enjoy the extra effort everyone put in to keep everything vegan for me. As someone who loves to bake for other people it’s nice to be pampered with vegan treats made just for me.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

My posts for the next couple days might be a little sparse, but I’ll be posting plenty of pictures. I’m driving up to Gilroy tonight to see my family. We’re going to Carmel to enjoy some beautiful vistas on my birthday and then I’ll be in San Francisco and Napa for a few days. I’m excited to go to the Eat Real Food Fest and the World Vegetarian Fest on Saturday. Seminars, vegan food and learning how to brew kombucha…I can’t wait!

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Coconut Cake

My mom loves coconut cake. I’m pretty partial to it as well. Tomorrow night I’m heading back up north for my birthday weekend and I wanted to bring my mom her favorite cake to celebrate both of our September birthdays.

Now, I like trying out new cake recipes because I’m always searching for the elusive moist and flaky cake. Most of my coconut cakes come out quite dense so I found a new recipe on Native Foods’ blog. The food at their cafe is delicious and I’ve used their recipes before (they have the perfect recipe for vegan Irish cream). The secret ingredient is coconut flour as well as coconut milk mixed with almond milk.

Lunchtime Salad with Trader Joe’s Dressing

Vegan MoFoI love a big kale salad for lunch, chock-full of yummy toppings. Lately I’ve become addicted to Trader Joe’s hummus salad dressing, one of TJ’s few vegan dressings. It’s tasty and zesty and it goes well on just about anything. I’ll toss it with some shredded cabbage for a taco base or I can drizzle it over a spicy veggie saute. Today I used it in it’s most obvious application, as a dressing for a hearty baby kale salad.

At work I don’t shy away from simple meals when I can help it and for me, salads are far from simple. I’ve sauteed the Tofurky italian sausage with bell peppers and onions the night before but I still have to toss the kale leaves with dressing, slice my cherry tomatoes, and dice half an avocado, which can be a 10 minute affair. But enjoying a tasty lunch is worth it; I never want to compromise on flavor and quality even when I’m not at home. A nice big salad has plenty of protein and fiber to keep me full until dinnertime. I’ll be writing a post about my love of Tofurky sausage soon; their healthy, vegan protein fills me up and makes a perfect addition to a meal.

Nick and Sophie Salad Dressing

This is my go-to salad dressing for pretty much anything. No matter the toppings or even loading a kale salad into a baked sweet potato. It goes great with asian ingredients, summer produce, or winter squash. I also alternate using peanut butter and almond butter, since my boyfriend is allergic to peanuts.

While I have been making this dressing for the past 2 years my most memorable moment making this was at a weekend trip to San Francisco. My friends, Nick and Sophie, hosted us for the weekend and in return, my friend, Mario, and I made dinner for everyone. He sauteed up some tofurky sausage and I cubed and roasted butternut squash, made this dressing and served it with a kale salad. It was a great meal and a great night due to lots of friends and copious amounts of wine. Even though the meal was simple, the flavors stood out and the company even more so.

So in honor of my friends I give you this versatile and savory salad dressing.

Peanut/Almond Butter Dressing

Makes 5 servings

Ingredients:

2 1/2 tablespoons peanut/almond butter

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1-2 teaspoons sesame oil

1-2 teaspoons sriracha

Directions:

Whisk everything together and toss with a great big kale salad.

Sunday Fun Day Doughnuts

Vegan MoFo

I’m going to preface this post by admitting that I not big on watching sports. Not because I’m a woman, that cliché is misinformed, I know plenty of women who are fans of particular teams and sports. I, on the other hand, am not a huge spots fan because I was not raised watching sports; my parents thought cable would destroy our time as a family. So I developed other passions and ways of filling my time, like tap dancing, community theatre, singing, watching classic movies, and reading. While I’m not really involved with community theatre now and my tap dancing is relegated to my kitchen, I am still involved with most of my same interests as well as new ones, like wine, food, health, travel, and Doctor Who. Though I don’t know much about sports, I do understand it is an interest that a lot of people share and it is one way for people to unwind and share in a larger community, which is the basis for several of my interests as well. Part of the fun of watching Doctor Who is being entranced by the story and part of it is debating plot points with other fans, feeling connected with a larger group of people.

Now that I’ve explained my undeveloped interest in sports I can tell you that my friends and I planned this Sunday Fun Day where a big part is watching football and drinking mimosas. I did join in on the mimosas and a few minutes of football, but then I headed to the kitchen to do some baking. One of my friends joined me to bake some Pillsbury rolls, which, according to PETA’s website, are actually vegan. I set about whipping up some vegan doughnuts using the plain cake doughnut recipe from Babycakes’ cookbook, Babycakes Covers the Classics. I love both of my Babycakes cookbooks as well the bakery itself. All of the baked goods are phenomenal and their recipes are foolproof. Most of their recipes are gluten-free but I usually just use all-purpose flour instead of the gluten-free flours.

Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts

Unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable posting Babycakes’ recipe here since I didn’t make any unique modifications, but you can click the linked cookbook title above and buy their book or Barnes and Noble usually carries it. I highly suggest doing so, they have so many fantastic recipes and I’ve never had a bad batch yet. You could soon be devouring fluffy snickerdoodles that taste a bit like heaven, or thin mints, or even a 6 layer chocolate cake with raspberry preserves. The good news is that I did come up with my own glaze recipe that I will share with you!

Chocolate Glaze

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Directions:

If the coconut oil isn’t already melted add it and the chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl. You can use a double boiler but I just use the microwave in 30-second increments until both are melted. Once both the coconut oil and chocolate are melted, add the maple syrup and stir everything together. Dip doughnuts, or whatever baked good you like into the glaze and let sit.

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