Vegan Pumpkin Sugar & Spice Donuts

This weekend was a friends 40th birthday, and when we were asked to bring a vegan dessert, I knew that I couldn’t wait to make Alicia Silverstone’s Chocolate Peanut Butter cups– until I got word that the cake was going to be chocolate too. I was back to square one, and stressed at the prospect of finding an easily transitable recipe that feeds 40! Luckily, while perusing the web, I stumbled upon this recipe for vegan pumpkin donuts, I knew it’d be the perfect introduction to fall.

These donuts were a breeze to make, and we were left with a spongy and moist donut, with just enough pumpkin and spices to hint at fall. The only thing I might change from this recipe was the process of dipping the donuts into earth balance prior to shaking them with cinnamon and sugar. My donuts ended up COATED in cinnamon and sugar, and while I just thought that was delicious, some of us that aren’t complete sugar fiends (ahem, Jason), weren’t as crazy about it. Ah, well, all the more for me!


Caramelized Onion Jam

When Jason and I got back from the market with our CSA box and pulled out yet another bunch of onions, we got a bit stressed. We already had a fridge full of onions, and we couldn’t use them fast enough, so now what were we going to do with an additional bunch?

I decided to go with caramelized onion jam, it would use up plenty of our onions, and I could use it on everything from sandwiches, to pizza, to pastas. The one problem I had was that nearly every recipe used chicken stock of some sort, and I was out. I used this recipe, but modified water instead of chicken stock. So far I’ve used the caramelized onions on smoked salmon sandwiches, toast, pizza, and vegan mac n’ cheese. They pack a ton of flavor without the calories, an awesome condiment option to add to anything!


September Vegan Challenge- First Weekend

This past week, I began my September vegan challenge. I know I briefly wrote about it here, but there were a few things I had forgotten to mention. The truth is, that my vegan month, probably won’t be fully vegan. I know it’s sad and a bit contradictory, but there are a few things I am keeping in my diet for convenience sake.

The first is eggs. Now, I love eggs, and I always have, but the reason I’m keeping them in this month is more about food waste than anything. As part of my CSA share I get 1/2 dozen eggs every week, and unfortunately, Jason just does not eat them. I have already looked into giving some away, but considering I know the farmer I get my eggs from and have already paid for them, I feel strongly about not letting them go to waste. Although, I will be drastically cutting down my consumption.

The second exception is butter. Now, I’m not cooking with butter at home, so this is more of a rule for when I go out to eat. Last time I did a vegan challenge, Jason and I found it super frustrating to go out and eat, and considering this is one of our favorite things to do together, it caused much more harm than good. While I still aim to eat as vegan as possible when I’m out, I feel like butter is one of those battles I just can’t win, but I’m really going to try to moderate it and order food that will naturally be butter free!

I started eating vegan slowly last week (I was at about 75%) with my first day of actually trying to eat vegan being Friday. I spent the past couple of weeks finding recipes, and stocking up on ingredients. And although the first half of my weekend was so, so busy, I managed to spend a ton of time in the kitchen during the second half of my weekend prepping food for the week.

The first thing I made was the Radicchio Pizza from Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet. It was super simple, and so, so delicious. I added some sauteed garlic and shallots to the pizza in addition to the radicchio and it was so insane I could not get enough of it.

Jason is going to hate me for posting this picture, but I can’t help it! It was great to see him enjoying the vegan fruits of my labor as well!

I also made the oyster mushroom, leek, and pea risotto, ginger baked tofu, a big batch of lentils, and even a quick vegan mac n’ cheese for lunch one day. I gotta say, I’m really starting to enjoy it!

Gearing Up for My September Challenge

Can you believe it’s almost September? This year is flying by, and while I haven’t been reaching my goals quite on track the way I’d like to be, I’ve been slowly finding more fun ways to add a little bit of a challenge to my life here and there.

So, for September, I’ve decided to really challenge myself- by going vegan for a month. I’ve done variations of this challenge before, a week here, three weeks there, but I’ve never made it happen for a full month. And boy, do I need it.

I’ve been definitely over eating, being a bit more lax with my dietary habits, and not treating my body the way it deserves to be treated. So, I’m hoping that by going vegan for a month it will help cleanse my body of all the junk I’ve put in it, cleanse my taste buds of the processed flavors they love, and also inspire me to make new recipes.

That being said, I’d love your help! I’m currently putting together lists of recipes, meal plans, and shopping lists together so that when I go into September I really feel prepared. So I need some suggestions! Do you have any vegan cookbook, recipe, or product suggestions that I definitely need to check out?

I’m so looking forward to this challenge, and I hope you’ll look forward to hearing about it!

Raw Vegan Chocolate Cashew Dreamcake

This Sunday was a pure rain out. I didn’t leave my apartment the entire day, and while I had a million things to do around the house, I couldn’t help but take advantage of my time inside by making a delicious cashew cake. I love to experiment with vegan and raw recipes, especially since Jason can actually eat them, but since this wasn’t my first time making a cashew dreamcake, I decided to switch it up by adding a chocolate layer.

The result was a creamy, smooth, coconuty dessert with just a hint of delicious cocoa and a bit of crunch from the crust. It manages to give you that feeling of eating dessert without the heaviness of dairy, perfect for the guilty pleasure while still trying to stay healthy.

Chocolate Cashew Dreamcake (adapted from My New Roots):

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup dates
1 TBSP Coarse Sea Salt

2 cups cashews (soaked overnight)
Juice from 1-2 lemons (depending on how juicy they are)
Seeds from 1 whole vanilla bean
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup agave nectar (could substitute honey)
2 TBSP-1/3 cup cocoa powder

1. Chop almonds and dates before putting them into a food processor with coarse sea salt. Process until it is sticky enough to pack down into a pie plate covered in cling wrap or a 7 inch spring form pan. Pack down so that there is even coverage along the bottom and sides. Put into fridge to cool.

2. Melt coconut oil and agave nectar in a small saucepan, add to the cashews, lemon juice, and vanilla bean seeds into a food processor, blender, or Vitamix if you have one.

3. Blend until creamy and spreadable, this may take a while depending on what type of machine you’re using. Spread 1/2-2/3 of the mixture (depending on your preference) onto the crust so it is even.

4. Add the cocoa powder to the rest of the cashew mixture and blend until it’s incorporated. Spread onto the plain layer and chill in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Vegan Apple Crumble Muffins

The temperatures dripped last week here in New York and while I don’t think we are quite out of the summer yet, I’ve been taking advantage of these fall feelings. This weekend I stopped by the market and the apples looked too delicious to pass up, so I decided to turn them into delicious apple crumble muffins. I used this recipe after a quick Google search (and realizing I had nearly everything in the house already), and I also used a peach applesauce to give it just a bit more of a fall taste.

The best part? Besides the fact that they taste amazing, the filled my house with the most AMAZING smell. I literally could not remove myself from the oven door until they were done. I’m so glad fall is here!

Vegan White Bean Burgers

Although I am not always the best at staying vegan for very long (three weeks this time), I do like to experiment with different types of vegan recipes. I saw this recipe and figured it would be the perfect option for a vegan alternative at a barbecue. Although they ended up tasting a bit like hashbrowns as opposed to burgers, they were a huge hit with everyone. I love white beans, and always find a new way to use them. These will definitely be something I make in the future!