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What to Eat?

Despite trying to eat healthy and make fun treats with healthy ingredients I haven't been treating my body properly. In the past few weeks I have seen myself make treat after treat, and it's changed me. No, I haven't gained weight, but I have seen a change in my body and mind. Lately I have been very critical, irritable, and very anti-social. Not to mention that I haven't been able to get to sleep in the past month before 3:30 a.m. My sleep has been harsh too, and I wake up groggy. When I finally noticed all of these changes I couldn't help but recall my college Yoga Studies course. In the course we had a unit on ayurveda. We learned what our dosha constitutions were and how to keep them in balance. I practiced for a while, but after moving around so many times I eventually found it hard to fall back into. For the next few weeks or so I am going to take all of my dietary supplications, try to go to bed at a decent hour, and especially eat foods that are beneficial to my body, not foods that will aggravate it. More on this subject to come..


Just Beet It! - Chocolate Beet Cake?

There has definately been a beet theme going on at my house lately. Today, my favorite, beet green soup. It's been a favorite since I was a kid. My grandma would make it with brown rice or corn bread, which I never understood since it appears to be an Italian peasant soup.. Beet greens are my favorite green, I hate that they are so under-valued and unappreciated. Luckily, I happen to have a wonderful market up the street that allways has beautiful beets, beautiful greens intact, for sale. I wish I had a photo, because it really is gorgeous. I was actually so excited to eat it that it was gone before I could find my camera. Ooops..

At any rate, I was able to hold out on my chocolate beet cake long enough to snap a few shots. I spun off of a recipe from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen blog. (A wonderful blog, btw). I ran out of sugar, so I used date syrup, rather relunctantly after some pretty dank blueberry muffins. I also added a bit of plain yougurt and some applesauce. Though rather dense, this cake had an amazingly decadent flavor. I can't imagine how anyone could guess that there are beets in it. Amazing!


Apricot Poppy Seed Scones

In high school I was the editor of my school newsmagazine. For a good while it was my passion. As an anti-social perfectionist, I was perfectly satisfied spending every ounce of my spare time in the staff room working on the paper. I spent so much time and effort that Ms. Wood and I actually because best friends.. Not only did we spend time on the paper, but getting our mind off the paper too. Sure, we had a great share of writing competitions, workshops, and conventions together, but there were also lunches, trips to the mall, and late-night-on-the-phone-gossip conversations. She was a great lady, I've never had a friend quite like her.
One day late in my junior year she came to school with a glass container full of apricot scones. They were homemade, and she was so proud of them. She was so excited to offer me the biggest one, all while she explained how she had used Splenda instead of sugar, to keep them low-fat. Now, while evaluating the situation lets keep in mind:
1. I am a vegan, and she knows this.
2. I can't keep splenda infested products in my mouth
3. I don't much fancy apricots..
After a not-quite-brief moment of hesitation I take a bite. Despite my long-held vegan diet I take a bite of this terrifying scone that I find by all technical standards to be completely unappetizing. Stronger than my beliefs in animal well-being and compassion, I felt that by eating it I was saving her from some internal hurt. Unlike other non-vegan things I have happened to eat over the years, I have never felt wrong or guilty for what I did that day. In fact, I can only look back on it as one of the most uncharacteristically satisfying moments in my life.

Any-who, hubby and I enjoyed these Apricot Poppy Seed Scones last night. They were a little dry, unfortunately, but they had a very nice flavor. Also they were surprisingly sweeter than I expected, which was nice. I still have some dried apricots in the pantry, so i may give these another go next week.


Failed Injera » Teff Ginger Cookies

Though my injera was a devastating disaster, I didn't let that get me down. Instead I took that teff flour and showed it who's boss. I took my flour, added some fresh ginger and applesause, along with the usual cookie ingredients, and got these. With one batch I easily got four dozen two-bite-sized cookies! My husband made a lemon frosting for them which I found decidedly too strong for my enjoyment. I am going to keep developing these, and hope to get a recipe up soon!


A Failed Attempt: Injera

Today we went to one of our many local international markets, Arash.. It's always amazing how much product you can get there for such little capital. We got a bag of large carrots, mustard greens, limes, and 3 pounds of golden potatoes, a quarter of French feta (for my husband), and a quarter of medjool  dates all for $5.38. I had great visions of a wonderful Somali dinner. Unfortunately, I don't know the names of any Somali dishes. I only have the impressions left from my dinner experiences with my Somalian friends. So I made some spicy carrots and potatoes and a lentil seitan "stew". Both were incredibly delicious.. I can't say the same for the injera, which came out more like an oily cracker that tasted like sand.. I'll catch up with my Somalian sisters and learn from them before I try my hand at injera again.


Blue Corn Fried Seitan

Yesterday I had an adventure in the kitchen. First, I began my weekly homemade seitan ritual. Then I had a vision. Back in my early days as a vegan, when I was still in high school, my favorite meal was Fried Seitan, a recipe I found in the very Peta2 booklet that led me to become vegan. So I decided to take my old school favorite, and spice it up a bit, literally. Unfortunately, I was afraid of going overboard and accidently under-did the heat. However, they still came out great! A little on the oily side, I usually fry with sunflower oil but I was out, so I used what I had on hand- grapeseed, which as I understand is actually good for frying because it has a really high smoke point. Any-who, I was pleased with the results and will surely make them again soon. Look out for updates! :D

Blue Corn Fried Seitan

1 pound seitan
1 cup blue corn meal
1/2 cup brown rice flour
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp. buffalo wing sauce
3 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. baking powder
oil for frying

Combine corn meal, rice flour, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl.
In another bowl dilute buffalo sauce with water.
Add 1/4 cup of dry mix to sauce and combine.
Add baking powder to dry mix.
Dip seitan pieces in sauce mixture, then dip into dry ingredients.
Fry until a dark golden color.


Vegan Oatmeal Cranberry & Raisin Cookies

As if my muffins weren't enough, I decided to go with another oatmeal inspired recipe. This time a little flatter and more crisp: cookies.. When I lived with my grandma a few years ago, it wasn't unusual to walk in on her eating oatmeal cookies for breakfast. I always gave her a hard time about it too, because she constantly accused me of craving/over-eating sugar as a result of a protein deficiency, "Hello! Who is the one eating COOKIES for breakfast?." Anyways, on occasion she would offer them to my sister and I. Those store-bought mounds of sugar, chalked full of raisins, and chewy as a dog toy would get a sharp rejection every time. These cookies, however, well lets just say that they are ready and waiting for me in the morning.

Vegan Oatmeal Cranberry Raisin Cookies

1    cup oat flour
1    cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar
2    Tbsp. sunflower oil
1/3 cup pear-sauce
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp. flax seed, 3 Tbsp. water)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, vanilla powder, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl combine sunflower oil, pear-sauce, and flax egg.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
Mix in raisins, cranberries, and almonds.
Place small rounded balls of dough onto cookie sheet and slightly flatten with hand or spoon.
Bake 8-12 minutes.

Yields approx. 2 dozen cookies.


Vegan Oatmeal Sunflower Muffins

If you make oatmeal anything like I do, it never comes out as tasty as you wish. For a month or so I've had a massive bag of oats in my pantry, laughing at me every time I take a look. This morning I decided to have my go at some oatmeal, but not in its usual form: Oatmeal Muffins! After searching the web for an appealing recipe I finally decided to make my own. To my surprise they came out really tasty, much better than any actual oatmeal attempt, even on my best day..

Vegan Oatmeal Sunflower Muffins

1/2 c. sunflower milk, with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. warm water
1    c. rolled oats
1    Tbsp. flax, with 3 Tbsp. water
1    c. whole wheat flour (I used golden whole wheat flour to get a lighter muffin.)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1     tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 c sunflower oil
1/2 c unrefined cane sugar
2    Tbsp. raw sunflower seeds, shelled of course..

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
      Add warm water and sunflower milk/apple cider vinegar mixture to oats in medium mixing bowl.
     Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon to a sifter and sift into a large mixing bowl.
     Add sunflower oil, sugar, vanilla powder, salt, and sunflower seeds to the oat mixture and stir.
     Pour oat mixture into dry mixture and combine thoroughly without over stirring. 
     Spoon batter into an oiled muffin pan. Bake for 18-22 minutes.

Let cool, or enjoy warm! For a little added sweetness you can make a frosting for them, coat in your favorite cream-cheese or peanut butter, or cut open and fill with butter, jam, honey, or agave. My husband recently made some delicious almond/rice hochatta, so I decided to add a little to some powdered sugar for a flavorful sweet topping. It is delicious!!


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