vegansaurus!

04/04/2014

Cookbook review: Mayim’s Vegan Table!   »

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I just received Mayim Bialik’s debut vegan cookbook, Mayim’s Vegan Table, and I absolutely love it. I have had so much fun making the recipes out of this book. They are easy to follow with super accessible ingredients. I got the feeling this book is catered towards people who are new at veganism or feeding picky, young eaters, but I think anyone can enjoy it! While it can be exciting to make challenging recipes with multiple, unusual ingredients, most of the time I want to make quick meals that are big on flavor. In that respect, Mayim’s cookbook definitely delivers! Like, WHOA! 

The first recipe I made was the creamed cornbread, which is pictured above. I never would have thought of using creamed corn. It added a texture to the cornbread that was both soft and incredibly moist! This recipe did call for quite a bit of maple syrup, which I could see some people very much enjoying, but I would definitely cut down on that next time, maybe even adding some jalapeños. But don’t take that as me criticizing: I very much like having recipes in my repertoire that are delicious in their original form, but can also be easily tweaked to suit my own palate!

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The next recipe I made were the brussels sprouts chips. I meant to share these with my dad, but I ended up eating them all in one sitting. Oops! Peeling the layers of brussels sprouts is not much fun, but the result is so spectacular that I don’t mind doing it again! I hadn’t had roasted brussels sprouts chips since I last went to Social Brewery and Kitchen, so this was quite the treat.

imageMayim’s cheese sauce shows up in a few different places in her book, so I decided to give it a whirl, on it’s own. I used Daiya mozzarella, and in place of wheat flour, I substituted rice flour. I was curious if this recipe could hold up gluten-free. Good news: it does! I think many gluten-free substitutes, such as flour, breadcrumbs and pasta, can be used in the same ration without compromising the taste in her recipes. That is just another reason I am loving this book!  

imageI baked the cheese sauce atop enchiladas (my own recipe, not the ones featured in the book). I was very pleased with the consistency of this sauce freshly made as well as baked in the oven! I could see using this sauce not only on the enchiladas and mac’n cheese in the book, but also with burgers and chili cheese dogs! 

Next up, I made the soft pretzels. These were an Instagram favorite, but I have to admit, I already knew that would be the case! image
I knew I had to make the pretzels, both for myself and because if I’m going to do a review, pretzels are going to be the hit. I am super with-it, when it comes to food trends! My first thought was “Oh no, working with bread dough is so tedious.”, but I should have known better! Mayim’s recipe couldn’t have been easier or faster to make. One thing: the recipe says it makes eight, but then only has you form four pretzels. I only made four and they were huge! So next time I will make eight. I brought two over to my sister and her husband, who are both particular about food. They LOVED THESE PRETZELS, and keep demanding more! So, don’t just take it from me that they are incredible. 

imageThe very last recipe I made were the baked zucchini chips! They were fantastic and I ate them all in one sitting. Four zucchini have never disappeared so quickly! I didn’t have any vegan parmesan, and even though the recipe said that ingredient was optional, I wanted a cheesy taste. I diced up some Daiya mozzarella instead, and I thought it worked pretty well. Of course, I then had to dip them in Sriracha, because, what else? 

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So, that’s that! There are so many more recipes I can’t wait to make, including her Matzo ball soup and falafel! The cookbook contains more than 100 recipes, with appetizer, bread, sauce, breakfast, entree and dessert sections. There is also a sweet introduction, leading up to nutritional information for vegans and a few how-tos. If you are in the market for a new cookbook, I think Mayim’s Vegan Table is definitely worth checking out! 

Full Disclosure: The publishing company sent me this book free for review, however, all of the opinions stated in this post are mine. 

02/17/2014

David Lynch Teaches You to Make Quinoa Because What Better Way to Learn?  »

Bizarre quinoa instructions time! This is not new but I hadn’t seen it and what a tragedy it would be if you guys missed it. Part 1 is above. He needed two parts I guess. Here’s part 2:

Viewership seems to have fallen off at Part 2 but it’s pretty amazing. I guess he’s just talking in the dark for the time the quinoa needs to cook? That’s nice, right? A cooking show that actually lasts the length of time it takes to cook the dish. None of that cooking show hocus-I’ve-got-one-fresh-out-of-the-oven-pocus! Also, just to be clear, my research indicates quinoa is actually a seed. And my research is hella smart. 

The original post has the recipe in Portuguese but DangerousMinds.net has a translation for you.

Bonus: He uses Braggs! “It tastes like soy sauce! So good!” Indeed. 

01/07/2014

Thoughts on Making My New Vegan Cookbook, by Molly Patrick  »

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[This post is from Molly Patrick, co-author of the new cookbook, Bold Vegan - Food for the Body and Soul]

Did you know that New Mexico was part of the United States before you watched Breaking Bad?  (It’s okay. I grew up there and sometimes even I got confused. It’s not really new, it’s not really Mexico. What to think…)

Breaking Bad didn’t lie on two accounts: 1) New Mexico really is full of meth; and 2) there is nothing like the New Mexico sky.

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I grew up in a teepee on a bunch of land in asscrack nowhere New Mexico (you guys, I swear I’m not lying. A teepee!!). I had no running water, no electricity and no plumbing for the first part of my life. I was a teenager when we got our first TV and it was (I kid you not) a black and white 10 inch (dear god, why would I make this shit up).

We had an outhouse until I was ready to graduate high school and I grew up without ever eating meat (to this day I have not tried the stuff).

Actually, that’s not entirely true. When I was six, my Godfather bribed me to eat a bite of turkey on Thanksgiving for $5. At six years old, $5 is like $500 so I totally did it. I also tried Chicken McNuggets once in high school. I gagged a little, kept the sweet and sour sauce and trashed the nuggets.

My unusual and socially awkward upbringing was the root of some of my disgruntled teenage years but as soon as I decided that being mad wasn’t a cool trend anymore I got over it. When I got a little older and discovered how (some) people of privilege operate, I had a whole new appreciation for the way I was raised.

It may not have been fancy but it was full of love, honesty, humbleness, grace and compassion.

Last year, I wanted to share a piece of my upbringing with my girlfriend, Luanne so we quit our jobs and headed South from the Bay Area to asscrack nowhere land. We were on a mission to write a follow-up to our first cookbook, Bold Vegan - Food of South East Asia.

Luanne is from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (kind of like New York but in South East Asia) so naturally, she was excited to go to New Mexico to see the aliens.  

We were in New Mexico for seven months.

We wrote a cookbook, saw no aliens, tried no meth, saw countless jaw dropping sunsets and sunrises (see pics), soaked our bodies in natural hot springs, played in the snow and drank beer in the sun. We also ate lots of green chili (another one of New Mexico’s little secrets).

I created the recipes, Luanne tasted them, Luanne styled the photographs and I took the pictures. We had an awesome fucking time. I highly recommend quitting your job and doing something bat-shit crazy that makes no sense at all at some point in your life (but don’t go to New Mexico in winter. That shiz is cold. We’re talking high desert @ 6,000 feet, people. Bur).

Here are two recipes from our new cookbook, Bold Vegan, Food for the Body and Soul. There is a discount for Vegansaurus readers! The promo code is:  vegansaurus and it will allow your guys to buy the instant download version of our new book for $10 (usually $14.99). [Ed.: YES!!!]

It is filled with 90 Western and Asian classic comfort food dishes. From Vietnamese Pho to Pot Pie and Creamy Alfredo Pasta to Green Onion Pancakes.

Brought to you from New Mexico, with love.

But first, some sample recipes:

Fiery Garlic Tofu

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(gluten free if using gluten free soy sauce / nut free)

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz. box (397g) firm tofu tofu, cut into 1 inch squares
  • 6 tablespoons organic cornstarch (45g)
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil plus 3 tablespoons, divided (105ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided (3g)
  • 20 turns fresh black pepper
  • 10 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 - 5 dried red chilies, cut in half (add more if you like more spice)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon peeled and minced ginger (12g)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (15ml)
  • 6 tablespoons water (90ml)
  • 1 red onion, sliced into rounds (140g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (2.5ml)
  • Sugar Glaze (1 tablespoon (15g) brown sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon (15ml) water)
  • 1 green onion, cut into 2 inch strips for garnish

Directions

  1. Evenly spread out cornstarch on a plate.

  2. Cut tofu and dredge evenly in cornstarch. Set aside.

  3. Heat 1/4 cup (60ml) of the grapeseed oil in a nonstick pan.

  4. Place 1/2 of the tofu in oil. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 10 turns of black pepper.

  5. Cook for 9-10 minutes, turning so that all sides get brown.

  6. Take out of pan and place on a brown paper bag (placed on a plate) to soak up the oil.

  7. Place 3 more tablespoons (45ml) of oil in the pan and add the remaining tofu.

  8. Add another 1/4 teaspoon salt and 10 turns black pepper and cook for 9-10 minutes.

  9. Take out and place on paper bag.

  10. Use the same oil and pan and add the garlic, chili and ginger.

  11. Cook for 1 minute and then add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 6 tablespoons water.

  12. Add red onions and sesame oil and cook for 3 minutes.  

  13. Add the tofu back to the pan, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.

  14. Add the glaze and cook for an additional minute.

  15. Garnish with green onions.

Notes

  • Do not serve the red chilies, they are added for flavor, not to eat directly.

  • If you don’t like spicy then leave the red chilies whole.

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

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(gluten free / nut free / soy free if using soy free Earth Balance buttery spread)

First, the Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (1 1/2 cups / 240g)
  • 1 cup carrot, cut into 1/2 inch rounds (130g)
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced  (1/2 cup / 65g)
  • 2  cups water (475 ml)
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread (70g)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (40g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt (6g)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk (45 ml)
  • 3 turns fresh black pepper

Directions

  1. Place potato, carrot and onion in a pan with 2 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.

  2. After 20 minutes, turn off heat and add Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, turmeric and salt. Stir to combine.

  3. Pour mixture into a blender and blend until creamy, about one minute on medium. You may need to scrape the sides down from the blender a couple of times for everything to get incorporated.

  4. Add coconut milk to the blender and continue to blend until mixture is creamy throughout.

  5. Place into a bowl and add fresh black pepper.

Now, assemble the whole dish:

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe cheese sauce (above)
  • 4 cups thinly sliced potatoes, 1/4 inch thick (4 potatoes / 625g)
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread (45g)
  • 1 onion diced (1 cup / 120g)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk creamer (120ml)
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped (8g)
  • 1 tablespoons rice flour (30g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (6g)
  • 3 cups of chard, chopped (175g)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)

  2. Slice potatoes and set aside.

  3. Heat Earth Balance in a skillet and add the onions, garlic and parsley.

  4. Saute for 5 minutes on medium heat.

  5. Add the flour and salt and stir for 30 seconds.

  6. Slowly pour in the creamer and stir until mixture thickens, 1-2 minutes.

  7. Turn off heat and set aside.

  8. Evenly spread 1/4 cup (60g) of cheese sauce on the bottom of a 8x11 baking dish.

  9. Place a third of the potatoes over the sauce, covering the bottom of the pan.

  10. Place half of the chard over the potatoes.

  11. Place a third of cheese sauce over the chard (about 1 cup / 230g).

  12. Repeat (another third of potatoes, the rest of the chard, another third of the cheese sauce).

  13. Add the last layer of potatoes and then pour over the remaining cheese sauce.

  14. With a spoon, evenly dollop the onion/garlic mixture on top of the cheese sauce and sprinkle with paprika.

  15. Place in the oven and baked uncovered for 1 hour.

Notes

  • You can use any leafy green in place of the chard.

(I’m writing my bio in first person because I think writing about myself in third person is creepy)

If I’m not in my kitchen you will find me behind my camera, in front of my computer, on my meditation pillow, in a yoga class or watching Parks and Rec (I promise I’m not snobby – I’m not even good at yoga. It has been my lifelong dream to touch even my fingers to the mat in a forward bend. It still boggles me that I can’t do it given that my arms are disproportionately long).

I have helped open restaurants in New Mexico, California, Texas and Arizona (including Nature’s Express in Berkeley, CA). Before I wrote cookbooks and opened restaurants I was a personal chef.

You can buy my cookbooks on my website, boldvegan.com. While you’re there you can drool over lots of free recipes, check out my guide to getting healthy, 21 Days to Awesome and, sign up for my emails where I share even more recipes and charming banter.

I am also a regular contributor to Mind Body Green, Happy Cow, One Green Planet and Vegan Housewives.

You can check me on Twitter, catch up with me on Facebook, look at my pretty pics on instagram or share my latest obsession that is Pinterest.

(oh, and I’m always accepting recipe development, food styling and photography work. Check my online portfolio here)

10/29/2013

It’s National Oatmeal Day! Whenever I’m forced to eat breakfast in a non-vegan-friendly restaurant at a work event or whatever, I can almost always count on the oatmeal to help me leave feeling full, if not exactly satisfied (“$7 for this? I make this at home every morning. Thank god someone else is paying…”). 
But maybe it’s time we kick our oatmeal up a notch. Maybe it’s time we do steel-cut oats, and in a slow cooker, with cardamom and rose water and pears. Maybe it’s time we MAKE THIS RECIPE! 
Or just get a packet of the instant stuff and eat it straight, no water, whatever you need to do to get through the day.
Let’s have a moment of silence for all the oatmeals out there. Amen.

It’s National Oatmeal Day! Whenever I’m forced to eat breakfast in a non-vegan-friendly restaurant at a work event or whatever, I can almost always count on the oatmeal to help me leave feeling full, if not exactly satisfied (“$7 for this? I make this at home every morning. Thank god someone else is paying…”). 

But maybe it’s time we kick our oatmeal up a notch. Maybe it’s time we do steel-cut oats, and in a slow cooker, with cardamom and rose water and pears. Maybe it’s time we MAKE THIS RECIPE

Or just get a packet of the instant stuff and eat it straight, no water, whatever you need to do to get through the day.

Let’s have a moment of silence for all the oatmeals out there. Amen.

10/07/2013

Hey look! It’s the Regal Vegan teaching you how to make vegan Banh mi! Well. How do you like that. 

09/24/2013

Product review: Wholesome Chow’s Big Yummy (gluten-free) Brownie!   »

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Okay, here’s the deal you guys: I’m not the biggest sweets fan. In fact, sometimes when I eat too much sugar, my skin gets red, puffy and really warm.* This just happened at my birthday party, and freaked out my entire family. I finished my cake anyway, but everyone kept touching my red, blotchy arm as if I were a science experiment. 

Being the incredibly talented (as well as good-looking, charismatic and hilarious) professional pastry chef that I am, people are often quite confused that I don’t really eat sweets anymore. I’m like, “good thing you guys, this way at the end of my shift there’s actually prouduct available for the public to buy!” I mean, makes perfect sense to me—I go home and gorge on pizza, so everyone wins. 

Cutting to chase here, I usually pass up on dessert samples for Vegansaurus. However, because of my success with, and complete admiration for, Wholesome Chow’s products in the past, I was not willing to give up the opportunity to try their gluten-free brownies! I was expecting to get a dry mix in the mail that I would then bake, so imagine my delight when I opened a package with three BIG brownies encased. I mean, I’m excited just reminiscing about that evening. 

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Let me tell it to you straight: The Big Yummy Double Chocolate Brownie by Wholesome Chow is not playing around. It took all the willpower I had not to eat all three brownies in one sitting. They’re quite sizable, and everything no brownie in the past has ever been to me. To be honest, I eat cake and brownies as vehicles for frosting, and these babies didn’t even need it. I didn’t miss a side of fudgy chocolate frosting AT ALL. 

I’m someone who stays away from sugar, has never really been a brownie person (I mean, usually they can be SO dry) and doesn’t have to eat gluten-free (though I do feel better when I do). On that note, I crave these. I think about them all time. But where can I find these chocolate sensations, since Wholesome Chow doesn’t deliver them anymore? Well, here’s a handy list for you! (Just try to beat me to Rainbow to buy out their stock, I dare you.) Unfortunately for now, they are only available in California, but maybe you can ask your local natural food store to carry them? Of course you can always buy the brownie dry mix online too, as I’m sure it does not disapoint! Chef Veronica of Wholesome Chow also has a recipe for these decadent treats on their company blog!    

*I did not have any type of reaction to the sugar in Wholesome Chow’s brownies, which may have also been because for once I exerted some amount of will power in not eating all three in one sitting. 

06/24/2013

Recipe: Vegan fry bread tacos!  »

Fry Bread tacos, you guys, am I right? They’re scrumptious. If you live in the Bay Area, I highly recommend that you visit Rocky at El Rio, because he will take care of you. I realize some of you don’t have that option, or are perhaps too lazy to hop on Muni (it takes like an hour to get there from the Haight), so this is for you. We’re doing a recipe here. Or rather, I’m linking you to the Food Network site, because their recipe worked out so well for me.

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Back in March I went on a trip to Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, which I loved. Upon returning from Arizona and inspired by my trip to the Heard Museum, I decided to try my hand at Navajo fry bread

I followed this recipe from the Food Network website. I was happy with the results. Now, I’m not claiming it’s like, super authentic or anything, but the fry bread was tasty and reminiscent of Rocky’s, so I was pleased. I simplified the recipe a little because I kneaded the dough right in the bowl, just until the ingredients were combined, instead of on a floured countertop. I’m also pretty sure I didn’t refrigerate the dough because it seemed unnecessary and I like to cut corners when I can. Hey, I’m a busy girl (there’s a lot available on Netflix to catch up on). 

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Let’s be real, I ate two of these guys before they even hit the paper towels. 

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I topped mine with Daiya cheese, refried beans, lettuce and homemade guacamole. 

Try ‘em out,  learn a little something about Navajo history and culture, and make a plan to go visit Rocky at El Rio sometime (isn’t it about time you booked that flight to S.F.?)

05/20/2013

Recipe: The Vegan Italian Hoagie!   »

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Growing up in Philly, I ate plenty of hoagies in my pre-vegan days. Italian hoagies were my jam especially so when I saw that Diaya was coming out with provolone slices, I was like, “this is it! It’s hoagie time!” And god bless me, my vegan hoagie turned out out of control delicious!

You too can make your own Italian hoagie, here are the supplies you will need:

-Italian Amoroso-type roll (I found one at the deli at the regular grocery store—had cornmeal dust and all)
-Vegan mayo (I used Earth Balance)
-Daiya provolone
-Veg salami (I used Viana Velami, got this and the Daiya from Vegan Essentials)
-Iceberg lettuce
-Onion
-Pickle slices
-Olive oil
-White vinegar
-Salt/pepper/oregano

Slice your roll along the side (not the top like crazy Subway) and spread the mayo inside. Place your meat and cheese slices like so:

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Then slice your lettuce and onions. BTW this is prob the only time I will ever recommend iceberg for anything. Don’t tear it or anything, the lettuce should be sliced into strips like these: 

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And I just sliced the onion similarly. Sprinkle ample amounts of lettuce and onion on top of your open sandwich. Then top with pickle slices. 

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Sprinkle a little of your oil and vinegar on top. Then the salt, pepper, and a dash of oregano. 

TA-DA!

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03/12/2013

White Chocolate Cake Batter Fudge, you’re a beast. A motherflipping BEAST, and I need to tame you.
(This just got sexual, and I think we all like that.)

White Chocolate Cake Batter Fudge, you’re a beast. A motherflipping BEAST, and I need to tame you.

(This just got sexual, and I think we all like that.)

02/06/2013

Summer in Winter: a smoothie and salad to cure your winter blues  »

My “cooking” style can best be described as hodgepodge. The more I try new things in the kitchen, the more comfortable I get, just like most things in life. Even though I needed to text TWO separate people asking them how to work the rice cooker that was immediately in front of me, and even though I’ve never finished preparing a meal without my sous chef, Chef Google-Search, I’m always pleasantly surprised at the finished product. And that’s saying a lot because I am the most self loathing person I know. 

Back to the food. I say hodgepodge because I enjoy throwing many ingredients into what I’m making to try to find something that I haven’t tasted before or just switch things up from the monotony. Case-in-point, the rice cooker.  In an effort to save money and not waste food, I try to eat as many things left in the closets, cupboards, and ‘fridge on the day I bring groceries home. Rather than gorging myself on all the new treats. A couple months back I did a post on SooFoo and their grain blend. I came across the nearly empty bag, buried in our bulk-food drawer, and decided I was going to finish it off but with some new twists. Then saw a bag of salad about a day before it was set to turn slimey and dark, a bag of bread that only had one heal left, and a soft kiwi. It was like the Island of Misfit Toys, but with vegan friendly food from your local grocer. That’s when it hit me, let’s make a cheap meal that will bring all the boys (or girls, or both) to the yard. 

First up: the SooFoo.

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Normally, you follow your ricers directions of 1 cup (which isn’t a real “cup” and no one has given me an explanation of why) of the blend and some water up to the “1” line and a teaspoon of oil. I said, to myself, “NAH SON.” Threw the rest of the bag of the blend in the ricer, along with a handful of roasted/unsalted peanuts and a handful of raw pecans. For the water, I felt that was the easy way out, so I threw one part water and one part Trader Joe’s Low Sodium Garden Patch juice. Think V-8 but way less gross and actually good. And not disgusting. Then I pressed the button and let this interesting concoction boil in that plastic and metal cauldron. After it was finished, which I should have done way earlier but my kitchen neuroses kicked in, I threw in a gang of spices—thyme, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, and cayenne pepper—then mixed it in and was taken aback by my its awesomeness. 

Next: The smoothie.

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I like to brag about my smoothie skills. But that’s like bragging about exercising and we all cannot stand that person who loves to tell you how much they just ran, all before the sun came up too. But I wear my smoothie skills like a badge of courage—or more realistically, a badge of healthy poo. Because let’s be serious for a moment, that’s all the really matters in this world. The smoothie began with an extremely squishy kiwi that would not have been fun to eat normally. Then half of an avocado. Then a good sized handful of that almost wet and slimey salad. Followed by some almond milk. After blending those ingredients and getting a nice green, milky consistency, I threw in the frozen portions. Blueberries, raspberries, and spinach. Then blended like crazy and poured into a re-purposed glass peanut butter jar that any hipster on Pinterest would be envious of. I garnished it with a cuke moon because I’m classy (ignore aforementioned poo reference in previous paragraph).

Lastly: the salad, which is English for ensalada.

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There was a giant Fuji apple nearby, that must have been in the bottom of a shopping bag because it had a dent and gash in it in the shape of a cereal box. Instead of doing some mouth-maneuvering around the bruise, I figured I’d use the apple in my salad. I chopped it up to 1 CM squares, which is way smaller than I usually make my salad-bound apples. I wanted each forkful to have as much of the many ingredients. After the apple came the other half of the avocado, cut, while still in its skin, into similar sized squares as the apple, then squeezed into the bowl. Next up with throwing the rest of the bag of salad in, followed by 1/3rd of a cucumber, cut into half moons. I toasted that lonely heal of bread and chopped it up to make semi-homemade croutons. Sandra Lee woulda been proud. 

Finally I threw a heaping of the SooFoo blend into the salad and mixed it all with some goddess dressing. Between the kiwi in the smoothie, the apple and avocado in the salad, the (relatively) cold SoCal winter seemed to wither away. It was like, all the way down to 59 today. But this extremely fresh, resourcefully made, and low budget-friendly meal was reminiscent of just 3 weeks ago when it was 70. (hash tag California)

Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter. 

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