MoFo Roundup: Week One

I can’t believe it’s already the second week of VeganMoFo! Here’s a look back at some awesome posts from MoFo bloggers last week.

All You Eat is Vegetables shared a recipe for Kale Pesto Pizza with caramelized onions and kalamata olives. Yum!

Awesome. Vegan. Rad. learned two things to never do, including trying to caramelize onions in the oven.

Sometimes the best meals are born from a little innovation and nutritional yeast, like this Spicy Balsamic Monster Meal that later evolved into something beautiful. Or not so beautiful in this case. Looks delicious!

Manic Beans shared a Whole Wheat Naan recipe that sounds absolutely amazing. Whole wheat and ghee free? I’m sold.

The Vegan Test episodes created by Cadry’s Kitchen had me laughing all week.

Better With Veggies veganized her way through vegetable pot pie, fettuccine alfredo, and Buffalo Chik’n Dip!

Heathen Vegan cooked up a scrumptious Jamaican Ginger Cake!

There were so many amazing posts. I can’t keep up with them all! Happy MoFo-ing everyone! I’ll see you tomorrow for HalloWednesday!

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Iron Chef Challenge: Chickpeas

Hello out there!

As I mentioned on Friday, VeganMoFo announced the first Iron Chef Challenge! This week the secret ingredient was chickpeas!

So I grabbed some chickpeas and started scheming of new and exciting things to do with them. Except there were so many possibilities that I couldn’t even pick one.

My post-marathon stomach was not patient enough for me to decide, however, and I started chopping up some veggies. While eating quinoa straight from the pot. And then I realized how much I wanted brussels sprouts. So I cut up those, too.  Since the oven was on anyways, I decided to roast the chickpeas. But not after a little love from some chili powder. And into the oven they went. With some corn, because that sounded good at the time. By this time smells were wafting around my kitchen. So I had a little snack.By the time that was finished, I had some delicious chickpeas that wanted to be eaten. So I decided to throw everything into a taco shell. And that’s how these chickpea tacos were born.

To see some awesome chickpea recipes from other MoFo’s, make sure to check here.

I would also like to announce that I can still walk and I didn’t die. Which is certainly enough to celebrate. And I made it to the finish line! And maybe tomorrow I will actually be able to think coherently. It’s been a long weekend. See you tomorrow, folks!

Figgy-licious

Hey MoFo’s, have you heard about the Iron Chef Challenge? The first secret ingredient will be chickpeas! I love this little legume in any form- roasted chickpeas, hummus, falafel, chickpea flour- you name it. I’m excited to see everyone’s creations! If I am still able to walk this weekend/don’t die, I want to try and come up with my own recipe too. (Did I mention that I’m attempting going to run a marathon this weekend??)

I spent today appreciating the feeling of being able to move. And remembering that I willingly signed up to run 26.2 miles. Followed by questioning my sanity. And then, contemplating Larabars. Because they are so delicious, afterall.

Dates + Cashews= Yum

This I know to be true. But what would happen if another fruit was added to the mix? Dried cranberries, raisins, banana chips. The possibilities are endless. So I rummaged through the pantry and pulled out some dried figs. After a little experimentation, I arrived upon a new conclusion.

Dates + Figs + Cashews= Figgy-licious

Figgy Larabars

(makes 3 large or 6 small bars)

  • 1/2 cup cashews (raw, unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup dried figs (or you could use all dates)

In a blender (or food processor), pulse the cashews until finely chopped. Place cashew pieces into a bowl. Cut the dates and figs into pieces and add to the blender. Pulse until no large chunks remain. Combine all of the ingredients and form into a ball. Press mixture into desired shape.

If you want to get really creative, you can use cookie cutters to make fun shapes and designs. I formed a rectangular shape and cut it into 6 pieces.

With this basic recipe, you could easily add or substitute other ingredients. Peanuts and cocoa powder? Coconut or dried peaches? Don’t be afraid to experiment. And enjoy!

MoFo on the Go

We all have those days when there just isn’t enough time or motivation to cook a meal. Those days when you’re lucky enough to put your shirt on the right way in the morning, let alone remember to pack your lunch before racing out the door. Believe it or not, I don’t make my own pumpkin-shaped chocolates every day of the week.

Today was just one of those days. I threw a roasted vegetable pizza into the oven (not literally, of course), paired it with a salad and called it dinner.

roasted vegetable pizza and spinach salad with sugar snap peas, bell peppers, and hummus

Here’s a list of some of my favorite on-the-go snacks.

1. Larabars

I love the simple ingredient list and variety of flavors. I have yet to meet a flavor that I didn’t like. They are even simple to make at home. (I smell foreshadowing)

2. Soup
Serve your favorite soup with some crusty bread for an easy to make meal. I like to freeze homemade soups in individual servings for added convenience.

3.Vega Shake & Go Smoothies

These smoothies are easy to prepare and are full of nutrients.

4. Nut Butter

Not everyone eat almond butter with a spoon? Try slathering it on cut up veggies, whole grain bread, or crackers.

5. Fresh Fruit

Fruit is easily accessible and comes in its own perfectly portioned package. What could be more convenient?

What are your favorite on the go snacks?

 

HalloWednesday

Happy HalloWednesday, everyone! Have you checked out all these awesome VeganMoFo bloggers?

Each Wednesday, I will be sharing some Halloween-inspired recipes, pictures, articles, etc. Because who doesn’t love Halloween?? Today just so happens to include lots of pumpkin.

I think I’m in need of a pumpkin-tervention. I can’t stop.

Breakfast was pumpkin oatmeal with chocolate chips, toasted walnuts, and maple cinnamon protein pudding. Delicious.

And when I can’t sneak pumpkin into my food, I still manage to find a way to make everything pumpkin-y. Exhibit A: pumpkin shaped tortilla chips.

And what would be better than pumpkin-shaped treats?

Answer: Chocolate, pumpkin-shaped treats.

Almond Joy Pumpkins

(Makes 12 Pumpkins, feel free to double or triple quadruple the recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 12 almonds
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

To make this into a pumpkin shape you will also need a mold. I used a pumpkin shaped ice cube tray. (Make sure your almonds will fit in the tray. You could also cut them in half, if necessary.)

1. Put the coconut in a blender and pulse until it becomes powdery, like this:

2. In a small bowl, combine coconut and agave nectar.

3. Ready for the fun part? Press the coconut mixture into a ball and form around an almond. I ended up with some leftover coconut. If this happens to you, don’t panic. You could simply make extra pumpkins, add the mixture to oatmeal, or eat it with a spoon (I won’t tell anyone). Crisis averted.

4. Place almond balls in the refrigerator to chill. I’m impatient so I stuck them in the freezer.

5. Get your mold ready. I added some coconut oil for easy removal.

6. In a double boiler (or microwave), melt chocolate chips.

7. Option 1: Dip almond balls into chocolate and place in mold. Add chocolate to fill any spaces, if necessary.

Option 2: Scoop chocolate into mold and press almond ball on top. Cover with more chocolate.

8. Repeat with remaining almonds.

9. Place tray into refrigerator/freezer to cool.

10. Try not to eat them all at once. Or do. I won’t tell anyone.

Can’t everyday be HalloWednesday? I’ve already got a few ideas for these bad boys:

Have a great day! See you again tomorrow!

Vegan 101: Calcium Part II

Hello to all you MoFo’s out there! Did you see yesterday’s post about calcium? Here’s Part II, with five more calcium-rich foods.

Calcium: 10 with 10 – Part II
6. Almonds
Almonds are full of heart healthy fats and phytosterols. What are phytosterols? Basically a component found in plants that help to lower cholesterol. Almonds are also full of fiber, iron, and vitamin E. You can use them to make your own almond milk or eat them plain. Try swapping peanut butter with almond butter for added nutrients. Two ounces of almonds will provide 16% of your daily calcium needs.
7. Kale
Green leafy vegetables, like kale, are packed with calcium and other nutrients. Kale is also anti-inflammatory and contains anti-oxidants and anti-cancer properties. There are many varieties to choose from. My favorite way to eat kale? Kale chips.
8. Molasses
Molasses can be used instead of sugar or sweetener in baking. Molasses is high in potassium, iron, and selenium. Managanese in molasses helps the body synthesize fatty acids and produce energy from proteins and carbohydrates.
9. Flaxseed
Like chia seeds, flax is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and calcium. Lignans in flaxseed protect against cancer by inhibiting tumor growth. Use ground flax in smoothies, mix it in oatmeal, or sprinkle on soy yogurt. To prevent oxidation, it is best stored in the freezer.
10. Rhubarb
Rhubarb is often used to make pies, but can also be eaten raw. While similar in appearance to celery, it is actually a fruit. Rhubarb contains lots of vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium, which help with calcium metabolism. Antioxidants provide health benefits for your heart, skin, eyes, and immune system.

Honorable Mentions:

With only 10 spots on the list, there simply wasn’t enough space for all those other delicious calcium-rich foods. We don’t want anyone to feel left out. Here are some other promising contenders:

Rutabagas, chickpeas, artichokes, oranges, black eyed peas, dried herbs (basil, thyme, dill, oregano,..), white beans, broccoli, dates, cinnamon, soy products, Swiss chard, amaranth, sea cucumbers, navy beans, seaweed,…

So there you are. Where do you get your calcium from?

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See you all tomorrow for HalloWednesday!

Vegan 101: Calcium Part I

Hey MoFo-er’s! Nice you see you again!

Today we’re going to have a little Vegan 101, which will be part of a series addressing myths, misconceptions, and other stuff I think you should know about. But first, here are some food pics from this morning.

breakfast: pomegranate tea and oatmeal with flax, cinnamon, bananas, almond butter, and dark chocolate

snack: green smoothie (lots of kale, soy milk, frozen banana, and frozen blueberries) while looking through The Engine 2 Diet

Now that that’s taken care of, let’s get this party started.

There’s this amazing phenomenon that happens after I tell someone that I eat a plant based diet: they become instant nutrition experts. But where do you get your protein?, they gasp. And don’t you need iron? You may have experience this phenomenon yourself. While I appreciate the concern, hearing these questions again and again becomes a little tiresome.

So how do you respond? I find that a little education can go a long way. Knowing a couple sources of important nutrients can be helpful in these situations. And you can also ensure that you’re eating a balanced diet.

Calcium: 10 with 10

Yes, calcium is an important mineral. It is important for bone health, but plays many other roles. Calcium helps with blood clotting, muscle contractions (including your heart), releasing certain hormones, and sending and receiving nerve signals.

Dairy is not the only source of calcium. And may not even be the best source, according to these guys over at Harvard. Calcium is best absorbed in small amounts throughout the day. Here’s a list of ten, non-dairy sources with ten percent (or more) of the recommended daily value.

1. Chia Seeds

Yes, as in the Chia Pet. Chia seeds are a great addition to smoothies. They can be added to baked goods or used to make chia seed pudding. Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Just 3 tablespoons provides 20% of your daily requirements of both calcium and iron.

2. Sesame Seeds and Tahini

Those little seeds on your [veggie]burger bun are more than just a decoration. Add two tablespoons of tahini to a sandwich or wrap for 12% of your calcium needs and 6 grams of protein. Tahini can also be used to make a dressing, such as this Raw Tahini Dressing (look at those nutrition stats! and while you’re there, check out the awesome “A Day in the Life” series). Look for unhulled or whole sesame seeds, which have more calcium than hulled.

3. Bok Choy

A cup of bok choy has only 10 calories, but is full of nutrients, including calclium, vitamin A, folate, and vitamin C. Look for bright, green leaves. Yellow leaves indicate that it has been sitting on the shelf longer and has also started losing favor. Bok choy can be steamed or sauteed, but I prefer the crunch of raw, baby bok choy.

4. Dried Figs

Dried figs make a great snack. Just half a cup provides 8 grams of fiber, over 10% of the RDA for calcium, and lots of potassium. If you like fig newtons, then I have a great recipe for you! Check back later this week.

5. Black Beans

Beans can be used in so many recipes, adding protein, fiber, and, of course, calcium. Have you tried black bean brownies or black bean soup? If beans are giving you gastric distress, try soaking and rinsing dried beans before preparing them. You can also add kombu or kelp, a type of seaweed, to the water to make them easier to digest. (some canned varieties also contain kombu seaweed- check the ingredient list) When adding beans to your diet, you might also want to start with small amounts at first. This allows your body to adapt to an increased fiber intake. If all else fails, you can also try using digestive enzymes, like Bean-zyme.

To see five more food sources of calcium, come back tomorrow for Part II. I’ll also share some calcium-rich recipe ideas.

It’s a gorgeous fall day, so I’m off for a bike ride! Have a great day, MoFo-er’s!