It’s almost Christmas! It’s cold and dark (it drops below 30 at night out here!) and we need booze and fat and sugar to keep us warm and fat and awake! Also something aesthetically pleasing, to keep the SAD at bay. Lucky for us, Meagen of Vegan Food Addict whipped up this wonderful antidote to the December grays: a chocolate peppermint martini! Get into it! (Seriously, I want to Dita Von Teese this thing and climb in.)
PS: Need something warmer? Try Angela Liddon’s ultra-creamy mocha hot cocoa. I bet it’d take to booze pretty well.
Pumpkin Parfaits with Ginger Snaps! I got this from this great Vegan Thanksgiving board on Pinterest, where there are millions upon millions of tasty Thanksgiving recipes! Yay, Thanksgiving, LET’S EAT IT ALL!!!!
Also, Bay Area, don’t forget it might be your last day to order Thanksgiving stuff!
Product review: Sacha Vida’s nutty-tasting, omega-3-packed, delicious sacha inchi oil! »
Sacha Vida sacha inchi oil, made from sacha inchi seeds grown in peru and bottled in the Napa Valley, tastes like a cross between hemp, flax, and peanut oil. Like hemp and flax, this oil cannot withstand heat and therefore must be used exclusively in raw dishes. Obviously that’s fine with me, because I just love raw food!
The health benefits linked to sacha inchi seeds are impressive: ideal ratios of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, cardiovascular health, improved skin health. Apparently the oil causes less gas than some others, and has way more omega-3s than soy, olive, sunflower, or flax oils. It is the most unsaturated vegetable oil on the planet, according to the Sacha Vida website. It contains natural antioxidants. As oils go, this one has a pretty ideal nutrition profile for vegans of all stripes!
Sacha Vida Sacha Inchi oil is obviously super-healthy, but how does it taste? To find out, I used a free sample of sacha inchi oil sent to me by Sacha Vida, and employed it in this recipe I created:
Kale Pomegranate Sacha Inchi Salad
Serves 1 to 2
1 bunch kale
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped beets
1/4 cup raisins or goji berries (optional)
1 Tbsp. Sacha Vida oil
1 pinch black pepper
1 to 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. miso (I used chickpea miso)
1 tsp. coconut aminos, tamari, or Braggs
1 pinch kelp flakes (optional)
Mix all dressing ingredients and massage into salad ingredients. Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes or more before serving in order to give it time to marinate!
The oil tastes delicious. The peanuty flavor is heightened by earthen notes that satisfy the palate. Mixed with greens, it feels silky on the tongue, and has a slight lingering mouth-feel that is sweet and savory at the same time. I feel like I just drank golden nectar, something the Greeks would have loved to have imported from Peru to consume after the cheaper oil was all used up for wrestling.
Ethical Ocean’s vegan recipe contest »
Come one, come all! Ethical Ocean is having a vegan recipe contest and the competition is steep.
So for recipe contests, do you have to make everything to decide which recipe to vote on? I can’t make all this stuff! It would take forever! A delicious, delicious forever. If you just vote for the prettiest, I may have to vote on these pomegranate pops. They are super sexy, right? You can vote every day until August 13th. Which are you going to vote for?! Tell me!
Book review: Scott Jurek’s “Eat & Run” Plus, run with Scott today! »
This dude running with his dog is Scott Jurek. Scott Jurek could basically kick your ass any day of the week, including days where he hasn’t slept the night before, has a broken ankle, and already ran 75 miles. See, Scott is an ultramarathoner, which means he’ll run a marathon as a warmup, then run another one, then figure that the race is just getting started. He’ll run over mountains and through lightning storms and never stop. “Hallucinations and vomiting, to me and my fellow ultrarunners,” he says, “are like grass stains to Little Leaguers.” Shit yeah, that shit’s for real. Oh yeah, by the way, just in passing, he’s vegan, and has been essentially the whole time he’s been doing this. (!!!!)
Scott, you’re my new hero, I love you! Thank you for writing this book so we can all learn about how amazing you are!
Scott’s publisher sent me a copy of Eat & Run and I was like, “Hey, I kinda like running, I’ll check that out,” despite David Foster Wallace having brilliantly explained, athlete memoirs are pretty much guaranteed to suck. I was prepared to read two pages, tell y’all the book existed, and move on.
Except the book is good! I kept wanting to read it! I read two chapters out loud in the car and my husband wanted me to keep going, even though I was gonna puke because the road got curvy! (See, right there, you can tell I’m not an ultra-athlete: I avoid things that make me puke). I wanted to read the book so much that I almost posted this review too late because I wanted to finish it first!
Too late for what, you ask? FOR YOUR CHANCE TO MEET SCOTT JUREK!
Wednesday, June 13 (that’s today!!) in San Francisco:
- 7 to 8 p.m.: Fun run with Scott at Fleet Feet San Francisco, 2076 Chestnut St.
- 8 to 9 p.m.: Eat & Run Experience with Scott at Fleet Feet
Check out his full calendar of events; he’s in L.A. soon, and San Diego, and he’s even coming to Colorado a couple times, though on days I can’t be there, BUMMER.
Even if you’re not a runner, you should totally go meet this dude. He’s just amazing. And inspiring. I literally got off the couch after reading this book for two hours, put on my shoes, and set off into the sweltering heat the weekend before last, because Scott made me want to.
Oh, one other thing about his book? It’s got recipes. Here’s one that’s also on his website. I haven’t tried any of them, but even if they suck I’m still gonna love him.
Green Power Pre-Workout Drink
Hippie Dan first taught me the importance of greens like spirulina and wheatgrass. Spirulina is a green algae said to have been carried into battle by Aztec warriors. Used for centuries as a weight-loss aid and immune-booster, it has lately been studied and shown promising results as a performance enhancer for long-distance runners. Because spirulina is marketed as a dietary supplement rather than a food, the FDA does not regulate its production; buy it only from a health food store and a brand you trust.
Packed with protein (spirulina is a complete protein) and rich in vitamins and minerals, this smoothie is an excellent source of nutrition. For a little extra carbohydrate boost, replace 1 cup water with 1 cup apple or grape juice.
1 cup frozen or fresh mango or pineapple chunks
4 cups water
2 teaspoons spirulina powder
1 teaspoon miso
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend for one to two minutes, until the mixture is completely smooth. Drink 20 to 30 ounces (2 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups) 15 to 45 minutes before a run.
Gluten-free vegan peanut-butter cookies! They look so good! And a “friend”* on Facebook says they’re yummy! Insider tip: consider leaving out the salt! Bam, you’re so ready to make those cookies!
Om nom nom I want them.
*A nice person who was in my writing group for about 3 months 3 years ago. Reliable source, I swear!
Chia seed pudding! Doesn’t it look awesome? It’s super-easy and healthy too. It’s the best idea, I can’t wait to try it. I put chia seeds in my oatmeal every morning but I haven’t graduated to making it into dessert! The “recipe" is more like general instructions so you can get creative. Just soak your chia in yumminess (like almond milk), add whatever spices you want, and soak it overnight! BOOM!
Try it and tell us if it’s awesome or if the author’s just good with Photoshop! Also, why are there vegan recipes on a psychology blog?
Guest Recipe: Chocolate Smoothie! »
This smoothie is one of the most delicious, creamy, filling and energizing drinks I’ve ever had. It’s inspired by Cafe Gratitude’s raw chocolate smoothies that blew my mind when I first had them. I could literally drink 3 or 4 cups of this and not get bored—it would just make an amazingly delicious meal!
The recipe requires a 1-2 hour wait because you have to pre-soak the cashews to make them extra creamy.
1 Handful raw soaked cashews (3-4 oz)
1 Tablespoon raw Cacao powder
1 teaspoon raw cacao nibs (optional, adds a nice chocolate crunch)
1/2 oz agave nectar
4 medjool dates
16 oz water
(Optional) Ice Cubes, just to add a thicker, slushy-like texture.
Soak the cashews in water, making sure they’re fully submerge, for at least 1 hour. You can also soak them overnight ahead of time to prepare for an amazing delicious energetic breakfast smoothie. Soaking the cashews helps not only improve their taste and creaminess when blended, it also helps improve enzyme activity and digestion of the cashew’s nutrients.
After the cashews are soaked, drain the water, then rinse them and drain the water again.
Add the soaked cashews and the rest of the ingredients to a blender. Blend for at least 60 seconds to turn the dates and cashews into a nice creamy mixture.
What you’ll be left with is pure heaven! Make sure to drink it right away as you’ll get most of the nutrients still active and the taste will be best. If you must, you can store it in the fridge for 24 hours.
Thanks to Tom Corson-Knowles from Authentic Health Coaching for sharing this great recipe! You can check out Tom’s blog about nutrition, healthy meal plans, and more great recipes at www.TomCorsonKnowles.com/blog
Cookbook Reviews by Rachel: Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas »
Overall Rating: A-
Level of Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
Best for: Anyone looking for no-fuss ways to veganize their family celebrations.
You know how they call that time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s “the holiday season”? There are holidays all year round, it turns out. (Flag Day: June 14). What would fill the “seasonal” aisle of the grocery stores otherwise? So while you might think a cookbook called Vegan Holiday Kitchen should get reviewed in like, November (which happens to be when everyone else reviewed it), it’s with an eye to strategy and not simply a result of laziness that I bring you this late March report. This cookbook covers not only Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah, but Passover, Easter, Rosh Hashanah, and Independence Day. Plus brunch, which I guess is its own holiday.
PSA: Passover starts after sundown Friday, April 6. Easter is Sunday, April 8. Holidays approacheth! Do you have a plan?
Nava Atlas had a clear purpose with this photo-heavy offering: honor tradition, add the vegan element, and create special-occasion meals that are fun, not stressful. To that end, her recipes tend to the simple and don’t shy away from shortcuts (canned lentils?!). But the lack of elaborate preparation or unusual ingredients makes this a really awesome resource when you’re looking to cook in someone else’s kitchen (like I did for Thanksgiving), or if you’re short on time, or if you just think complicated recipes are scary.
I’ve made a lot of stuff from this book over the last six months (though it’s not an everyday go-to), but somehow I failed to photograph most of it. Here’s the Red Wine-Roasted Brussel Sprouts everyone loved in November (pre-roasting):
And here’s a sandwich I made on the Vegan Challah, which came out really delicious, if not quite as flaky as the original (secret ingredient: squash!):
While some of the recipes are restricted to particular holidays or seasons (Passover = lots of matzoh, July 4th = grilling), it’s also fun to mix and match. At Christmas, we brought Moroccan-Flavored Tofu with Apricots and Olives, in theory a Rosh Hashanah offering, to a friends’ house for fancy dinner; it got devoured with compliments.
Atlas is a good communicator: The recipes are written clearly and are easy to follow, and each is labeled at the top if it is or could be soy-, gluten-, or nut-free. I’ve wanted to tweak some of her instructions (less sweetener in the Agave and Mustard-Glazed Green Beans, for example), but haven’t had any disasters or failures, praise be.
My only major complaint is that, especially in the Thanksgiving and Christmas chapters, Atlas shies away from star-of-the-show, protein-heavy, centerpiece dishes that I think are pretty key to a vegan celebration. Stuffings and pilafs abound; hearty stews and tofus do not. Perhaps this is a rebellion against Tofurky, but I want my protein, dammit.
Anyway, this book will be my #1 go-to for figuring out what to cook in my mother’s kitchen to bring to a seder next month. I’d wanted to try the matzoh balls before writing my review, but I’ll just have to post about it later.
Final verdict: Solid, crowd-pleasing recipes designed for simplicity. Especially valuable for the wealth of Jewish recipes, more than I’ve seen collected anywhere else.
A Page in Vegan History: The Depression Cake! »
I don’t think this is the oldest vegan cake recipe ever, but it’s HELLA old! Just like my grandpa! My grandpa turned 93 last week and so my mom made him his traditional birthday cake: The Depression Cake. This eggless, butter-less, milk-less recipe comes to us all the way from, you guessed it, the depression. And it’s all vegan! It’s funny that my grandpa’s favorite bday cake is vegan because he thinks veganism is for yuppies. But! Butter and eggs were expensive! Still are. Leave them for the yuppies, gramps! Join the vegan team.
Here is my grandpa, back in the day and now:
He really was a rocket scientist. Also an expert gardener and woodcarver! And lover of Depression Cake.
Here is the recipe from my mama, a slight variation on my Great Grandma Helen’s recipe!:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup hot water
2 cups raisins (I used raisins, currants, & golden raisins)
1/3 cup shortening (I used earth balance)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
Cook above for 5 minutes, cool.
Add 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 cup
Bake in 9x12 inch pan at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.
Grandpa Art likes chocolate fudge frosting on this. I just picked a
random vegan choc fudge frosting recipe from the Internet.
I also left some with just a dusting of powdered sugar.
There you go, guys! Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Happy birthday, grandpa!