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Archive for the ‘vegan’ Category

Because I’m still working diligently on the new site, I figured I’d share a post that could last you all week. And not just any post. The post including one of our most favorite recipes, the best vegan buffalo dip in town!

I know what’s going to happen after you read this and see the corresponding photographs. You are going to run out and grab all of the necessary ingredients that you don’t already have and make it tonight for dinner. And then, because you are going to love it so much, you are going to make it again this weekend for your Superbowl party. Don’t feel guilty at all. I don’t, even after devouring almost half a pan of this stuff! You think I’m kidding?

Vegan Buffalo Dip serves two very hungry people or can be shared at a gathering like any other dip

  • 1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup raw cashews (they don’t have to be soaked overnight if you have a Vitamix)
  • 3/4 cup Frank’s original Red Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 cup unflavored, unsweetened non-dairy milk (we always use coconut)
  • 2 tsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 heaping tbsp of nutritional yeast (don’t skimp- this adds a cheesy flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp of both onion and garlic powder
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained*
  • 1 cup of shredded vegan cheese**
  • fresh chives or scallions for garnish (optional)

*We’ve experimented with baked tofu instead of chickpeas. Just as delicious, but preparation will take longer if you are baking the tofu yourself. You can purchase small blocks of baked tofu at your local market, including Trader Joe’s, just diced it up finely. We personally prefer the chickpeas for a heartier bite.

**We’ve always used Daiya cheddar-style cheese but found that it didn’t melt like regular dairy cheese. Go Veggie! Mexican style shreds melt and have a great texture. This is now our “cheese” of choice and you can find this brand at both Hannaford and Price Chopper.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add the white beans and cashews into your food processor/blender.  Pulse several times to break them up a bit.  Add the hot sauce, non-dairy milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of black pepper.  Process until the mixture is entirely smooth (this time will vary depending on what machine you are using), stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Scrape the mixture into a 9×9-inch square baking dish. Stir in the chickpeas and 3/4 cup of the shredded vegan cheese.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top. (Note: Dip can be made up to this point a day or two ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to heat and serve.)  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until warmed through. Garnish with thinly sliced chives or scallions and serve with tortilla chips or veggies for dipping.

You’re welcome.

Recipe adapted from here.

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With kitty’s diagnosis, the beau and I have had to make some changes in our daily routine. He needs to have his shots twelve hours apart, which can seem impossible for two people who rarely seem to be home. Six o’clock is the magic time and in result, I (we) are now forced to become morning people. I really don’t mind the mornings, I just don’t care for the darkness. And because I’ve found myself in a great routine of working out on lunch, I now cook in the early morning.

While the beau is in bed reading and sipping on tea, I’ve been in the kitchen either making lunch or prepping for that night’s dinner. We’ve both admitted that my meal planning has been great for saving on cash and inhibiting us from eating out too frequently. This morning I made a big batch of hummus and a chickpea salad. Lot’s of  beans protein for my post-workout meal.

Roasted Carrot Hummus adapted from The Gouda Life

  • Three monster carrots (from FG), washed and cut into 4 inch sticks
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • splash of EVOO
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • tahini to taste (I prefer only about 1-1.5 tablespoons)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the carrots and garlic in the EVOO and season with the salt, pepper and cumin. Wrap in foil and bake until the carrots are soft, about 35-40 minutes. Pour  the foil contents into a blender, along with the lemon juice, tahini and chickpeas. Blend until creamy and season with more salt to taste. I added a tiny extra splash of EVOO to make it smoother.

Chickpea Salad 

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • vegan mayo
  • finely diced red onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crushed reed pepper flakes (if your heart desires)
  • few pinches of dill

Using a fork, mash the chickpeas but don’t puree them. They should be chunky with a few whole ones included in the mix. Add in a spoonful of vegan mayo and mix in your seasonings. If you have scallions, throw ’em in! If you have celery in the fridge, dice it up and throw ’em in! Really, anything goes. Well, except for gummy bears. Those wouldn’t taste good with chickpeas. But raw red peppers would!

I sliced open a pita, spread on some of the roasted chickpea hummus, stuffed in some raw spinach and filled it with the chickpea salad. Lunch was delicious! I don’t know why I haven’t made this within the last year; it really fulfilled my craving for tuna.

Be prepared for some more vegan recipes this year as I cook my way through the sunrise!

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It’s not all that often that the beau and I get more than ten hours together; eight of those hours spent sleeping. But with New Year’s Day being yesterday and the blizzard blowing into town today, we’ve been side by side for hours. And I kind of like love it.

No set plans. Records playing in the background. Little birds on the back porch feeding, chirping and hopping away. Good reads. Even better food ready to be prepared. Plenty of vodka and orange juice and winter ale on hand. 

We will have to venture out to pick up our Field Goods delivery but I’m happy to strap on my snowshoes and frolic in the snow.

For those of you that will have to shovel at some point over the next three days, I’ve got a dish that will fuel you for hours. Or if you’re crazy like myself and will attempt to *run* in this nonsense, this dish will fill your belly after you thaw out. Either way, it’s tasty, hearty and packed with nutrition.

Snow Day Scramble feeds two very hungry people or four with less of an appetite (thanks to the mimosas)

  • 1/2 red pepper
  • two big handfuls of swiss chard, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • nutritional yeast
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • turmeric (gives it that yellow egg-like color)

Saute your veggies in either EVOO, stock or water. Once the onions are translucent, crumble in the tofu and add your spices to taste. Sometimes we also add: curry, cumin, paprika and mustard. Also throw in a big handful of nutritional yeast and about a quarter cup of water/stock. We learned this trick from Sarah over at X’s to O’s Bakery (recognize anyone in their cover photograph?!) at the Albany Veg Fest this fall. If you add the water/stock, then the tofu will stay moist like eggs instead of drying out. Turn up the heat to let the liquid absorb/burn off, and then stir in another big handful of nutritional yeast. I’m telling you, don’t hold back!

Serve with homefries, Ezekiel toast, “sausage” and/or hot sauce and you’ve got yourself one kick-ass breakfy.

Next up in our kitchen: buffalo chickpea dip! Oh, it’s gonna be a good day!

 

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Tonight was one of those nights that I realized many things:

  • that our pantry, cupboards and fridge are pretty empty
  • I need to get back into the habit of running again in the early mornings, and
  • the dishes must be washed every single night.

I quickly washed two sinks worth of dishes after work and decided that I needed a healthy meal to ease my unexercised mind. Because of the craziness from this past weekend at the shop, we still had all of our veggies from last week’s delivery still on hand. I wasn’t in the mood for rice (again) and didn’t think quinoa would taste good paired with the veggies I thought about sautéing. I dug around and found some leftover lasagna noodles; and immediately put on a pot of water.

Random Veggie Roundup serves two hungry people

  • three or four  stalks of fresh curly kale (FG) [broccoli, brussels sprouts and zucchini would all work too]
  • EVOO
  • about three cups of sliced mushrooms (FG)
  • about two cups of sliced red cabbage (FG)
  • two cloves of garlic (FG)
  • about a cup of corn, fresh or frozen (FG)
  • veggie stock (my mom made this delicious batch!)
  • sriracha
  • Braggs liquid aminos
  • tiny splash of apple cider vinegar
  • optional: udon noodles, rice noodles, or any pasta on hand

Super easy: Cook choice of noodles as directed. I had four leftover lasagna noodles that I crumbled into bite-sized pieces.

Saute kale in a little EVOO until it is bright green, add a splash of stock if dry. Add mushrooms and cabbage and cook for just a few minutes until the cabbage becomes softer, but still snappy. Stir in corn and cook until warm.

Push the veggies to one side of the pan and cook the diced garlic in a little EVOO. It would also be delicious to add some fresh ginger (we didn’t have any on hand). Once it smells delicious, stir in with the veggies. Now add a generous splash of stock, about 2-3 tablespoons of Braggs, the tiniest splash of ACV and about two teaspoons of sriracha (less if you aren’t a fan of spice). Stir and let that start to simmer. Add in the noodles, stir and serve. Top with scallions if you have any- we didn’t, sadly.

Meals like this make me happy: they are simple and full of flavor. They also inspire me to make a shopping list!

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This is a very long overdue post that I was hesitant to write about because I can’t share any photographs, but decided to go for it regardless. The post covers the span of four days so I’ve decided to break it up into three posts.

This post is about my hiking trip I took the weekend before I finished up my 46. Paula and I set out the Columbus Day weekend, on Saturday, and didn’t return home until late Tuesday night after hiking five mountains. You read that correctly, five of the 46.

Saturday we drove up around noon to Upper Works after I finished my morning shift at the store and decided to park at the first parking lot because we knew that would be the lot we’d come out at on Monday. We had a short walk on the dirt road to the second (furthest) lot, logged in, took note of all of the cars parked for the holiday weekend and started on the Calamity Brook trail to the flowed lands. One special thing that I remember from this walk in was that we stumbled upon the monument for David Henderson who died near the trail in 1845. I still haven’t researched who he was or his significance to the Adirondacks, but it was a gorgeous location and quick break (our packs were heavy!). All of the lean-tos we passed were full, so Paula and I continued on and ended up at Livingston Point. It was very secluded but right on the Flowed Lands; my new favorite spot in the whole park to date. If you are friends with me on Facebook, my cover photograph was taken our second evening on the water. We unpacked, ate a hot meal then settled into our sleeping bags around seven. I was passed out within ten minutes.

Sunday morning we woke as the sun was just rising and Paula mentioned that two men had passed by the previous night in the dark. When I went down by the water I couldn’t find them and because the trail ended at our location, I was confused as to where they had gone. I decided to walk along the water’s edge and found a trail that cut across the bog. I told Paula about it while I ate my big bowl of hot soup for breakfast and we decided to try and cross the bog. On our way over, we found the two men; they had camped out on a little “island”. They were curious to see if we could get across because they too had to get over on that side of the bog and cutting across would shave off miles from their trip too. Well, we made it! It was wet in some places and the brush was thick (especially because I was in shorts) but we were all smiles and high-fives on the other side. This put us at the base of the Uphill Brook, and we followed the trail to the Uphill lean-to where the intersection for Cliff and Redfield were.

It was uphill but a very scenic route with plenty of waterfalls and gorges in the rocks. Oh, and the privy at the Uphill lean-to was clean and a great stop before (and after) climbing Cliff Mountain. The trails to these two peaks were unmarked but very easy to follow. The number one thing I remember about Redfield was the mud. The number one thing I hated about Cliff were the cliffs! I can’t imagine hiking to that summit in the winter- yikes! Gotta do one thing a day that scares you, right? The day was absolutely gorgeous and we did get views along the trails and on the peak of Redfield.

On the way down the Uphill Brook trail, it was like a highway. Tons of people were either looking for a lean-to or heading out to their vehicles to head home. Once again, we cut across the bog and were happy to see that no one else decided to camp out at our spot. Because we cut off almost four miles of our anticipated trip, we finished in the daylight and I decided to sit down by the water. It was beyond gorgeous; I took my boots off, soaked my feet in the freezing water and just thought about how grateful I was to be experiencing that day. As the stars starting to show, I walked back up to camp and cooked up a warm meal.

So many people have asked me what I eat on the trail, especially now that I’m vegan. And while that’ll be a separate post, I will share with you now what I eat for dinner. When I was preparing for my first overnight, I knew I’d want something quick, healthy, warm and substantial enough to fuel my body after a long day of hiking and before another day of hiking. I stumbled upon Tasty Bites at my local health food store, but I only had one option that was vegan; the channa masala. I tried it and was hooked! Paired with rice, I was stuffed and satisfied. Once I got back from that overnight, I immediately reached out to Tasty Bites to see if they’d like to sponsor any other overnights that I would encounter while finishing up- and they agreed!

I was beyond thrilled when they sent me seven packets of food to try! There was a great mix of noodles and classic Indian meals. For the two overnights mentioned above, I brought the lemongrass ginger Asian noodles and the Bombay potatoes respectively. Although the noodles weren’t as soft as I would have preferred, they weren’t mushy and had a great flavor. I was a little nervous that it wasn’t going to be enough, but it was and I even had room for dessert (a fig newton or two). The Bombay potatoes I saved for the second night because I knew I’d be hungrier after a longer day, and I was right! It was the perfect mix of potatoes and chickpeas with a wonderful flavor that most aren’t expecting in a camping situation.

What I love most about Tasty Bite products is that on all seven packages of food, I recognized every single ingredient. Better yet, I have almost every ingredient in my own kitchen. Each packet costs just over $3 and doesn’t take up much space in my bear canister. They simmer well over a small canister flame and can also be reheated by simply placing into boiling water. I could have saved the remaining packets for future hikes but was too curious to taste them; they made a great meal at my desk when I didn’t have the time to step out and dinners, when I didn’t want to make something from scratch. Some of my other favorite options are the pad thai (!), aloo palak and spinach dal.

Back to the hike… I washed up my dinner dishes, bundled up and stood under the stars listening to the animals moving around in the bog. It surely was a peaceful night. Again, Paula and I were tucked into our bags early and although it was cold when we fell asleep, it was much warmer in the morning. Warmer weather typically means one thing: cloud cover. And it was cloudy alright, with rain falling…

{The Tasty Bite samples were provided to me at no cost however, all opinions are my own. I will continue to be a big fan of theirs and will continue to pack their meals in my bear canister for each overnight.}

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One morning while walking back from brunch, we noticed how chilly it had become over the previous week. I then thought that I should put out extra feed for the birds to enjoy; I did after all have to winterize the porch. And then the idea of a vegan alternative to suet came to mind.

While understanding that most birds in the ‘hood are indeed omnivores, I’d prefer not to purchase any products made of animals and bring them into our living environment. I quickly turned to the Internet for a recipe and took to the kitchen early yesterday morning. It was the chilliest day yet!

Veggie “Suet” Blocks Makes four blocks

  • 2 cups of veggie shortening
  • just over a cup of bird seed
  • about half a cup of peanut butter (it’s all I had in the cupboard)

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Melt the veggie shortening over a low heat to prevent it from burning. Once completely melted, turn off the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Then stir in the seeds. Pour into a mold (I used an aluminum pan) and cool until solid- I put the pan out on the back porch and it only took about thirty minutes to harden. Cut and put into feeder; I had a leftover suet cage from last winter. Hang and watch the birds gobble it up!

Oh, and you can keep the leftovers in the freezer until the next time you need to refill.

This was a softer recipe and next time I think I’ll try adding a little chickpea flour to firm it up more- but it did hold it’s shape well. I love having birds around and jump out of bed in the morning when I hear them in the (glass) feeder. I’ve only seen one blue jay this year and he was gorgeous! Don’t get me wrong, the little chickadees are darling but I’d love to have mister blue come to visit again this winter. Here’s to lending a helping hand and enjoying every bit of nature, even while living in the city.

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To piggy-back off of a previous post, instead of buying gifts for each other for the anniversary of our first date, the beau and I decided to take a day trip to Woodstock, NY. I had only driven through this little town after hiking once before but he was more familiar with it because his art had been featured in a gallery down there. I got up early to run my long run, shower, have a hearty breakfast at our regular spot and hit up the local car wash thanks to the HUNDREDS of crows that live in the trees outside of my apartment this time of the year. We were on the road by eleven and at the trail head by noon.

A co-worker suggested that we hike up Overlook Mountain, which I didn’t know the beau  would be interested in doing. Luckily, I was wrong! I think the short distance (just over a mile) combined with the fact that it was on an old carriage road were the selling points. We bundled up and started up the trail!

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We passed a bunch of people who were already heading back to the car, it was a gorgeous autumn day, and within no time had to stop to take our coats off. By the time we made it to our destination, it was getting a little grey out and snow flurries were floating in the air. We decided not to hike to the fire tower and just to the abandoned hotel because we wanted enough time to walk around town before dinner. I loved it! I read up on this old building and it was originally built in 1871 but unfortunately burnt to the ground in 1923. It was so much fun to walk within it’s walls and imagine what it had looked like over a hundred years ago.

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We spent quite a bit of time wandering around but it got cold fast, so back down the trail we went. And then decided to explore the Buddhist monastery across the street from where we parked! There was a retreat happening but we did get a peak inside of the meditation hall.

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Once downtown we shopped, visited a couple of galleries, dreamt about purchasing antiques and laughed plenty of laughs in a neat children’s toy store.

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Seriously, what are those naked baby angels? And did you ever get to dissect owl vomit?

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The beau had originally suggested a trip to Woodstock because he had found an all vegan restaurant for us to have dinner at: Garden Cafe on the Green. Reservations were at five and we had a cute little seat in the window.

I think we were both overwhelmed to have so many options! We both agreed that we should try as much as we wanted/could and that we did! Besides the wine and side salads, this is what we ordered:

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For appetizers: the caesar salad with toasted almonds and the quesadillas with roasted red peppers and kalamata olives. The salsa, guacamole and sour cream were a big hit in my book!

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Dinner for him: pasta with “meatballs” and garlic bread. A classic!

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Dinner for her: wild and brown rice mushroom saute, cornmeal crusted tofu with red wine fig sauce, butternut squash terrine with pistachio swirl and roasted brussels sprouts. Out of this world delicious!

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For dessert: warm chocolate brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This serving was huge! Bigger than my hand! My only criticism of this rich, creamy dessert is that it wasn’t a brownie; it was a cake. Of course neither of us complained!

It was a wonderful day. Not buying gifts for each other was a great decision and I enjoyed spending time with him rather than money on an object. I would highly recommend this small town to any New Yorker looking for a day trip, even with the winter weather pressing us. Just remember to bundle up and hold the hand of your loved one.

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