Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday, where we take a quick peak at what I've been up to in the kitchen.

Breakfast was simple and quick. Just a bowl of these brown rice crisps topped with a banana, some walnuts and some snappy grapes, of course!

Lunch was perfect for a post hurricane warm up :) A bowl of stewed curried lentils and tomatoes with a really delicious apple. I swear I could eat these local apples three times a day.  I love making stews or soups like this and serving them over a big bowl of brown rice, cous cous, farro or quinoa. It stretches out your soup and it also gives it that extra nutritional kick!

My homemade kombucha tea is the greatest drink to have at lunch. I'm so happy one of my dear readers shared her starter with me! I make it with rooibos tea, so it has a nice sweet taste.

Snack was the usual! A chocolate protein powder smoothie made with almond milk, ice, a scoop of powder and half a frozen banana. Topped with cacao nibs, peanuts and some chocolate chips for good measure.

Dinner was some steamed broccoli, orange chicken Gardien and garlic brown rice. Yum!

I don't usually go for the old cooked rice in a bag thing. However, this is simple enough for my nine-year-old to make for himself if I'm not home, so I picked it up at Target. It's actually not bad!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2012 Boston Vegetarian Society Festival

Saturday I attended (my second) Boston Vegetarian Society Festival. It's a very popular event (i.e. super crowded!) held in a college gymnasium. The event draws people from all over New England, excited to hear speakers, meet cookbook authors, mingle with food/clothing vendors and sample lots of food and drink samples.

One of the vendors I like is the Herbivore Clothing Company. I didn't get a t-shirt this year, but if you've seen me wearing a "I'm vegan and I love you" shirt, this is where I got it last year!

Check out their site for unique and cool holiday gifts!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cool Stuff At Trader Joe's

In celebration of the opening of the Foxboro, MA Trader Joe's (hurray!), every Monday morning I am featuring a Trader Joe's product I like.

This is part of makes Trader Joe's so much fun - all the wacky snacks they carry. However, don't kid yourself and think you can eat just a small handful of these puppies. You WILL eat the entire bag :) Perfect with a wheat beer, in my humble opinion :)

Enjoy your Monday, everyone! And for those of you affected by the storm, be safe!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

How about a great recipe for a delicious pumpkin black bean soup? This is easy, freezes well, and with the addition of the spices, has a different flavor.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (16 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 T olive oil (or less)
4 cups vegt. broth
1 T cumin
1 tsp. each kosher salt, cinnamon, allspice
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
3 T balsamic vinegar
Baked pumpkin seeds for garnish

1. place oil, red onion, garlic and seasonings in a large pot.
2. cook on low-medium heat until red onion and garlic brown.
3. puree the beans and tomatoes with half of the veg. broth. Add pureed ingredients, pumpkin and rest of broth to your pot.
4. simmer uncovered until thick, about 45 minutes. Before serving, stir in vinegar. Garnish with baked pumpkin seeds.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Books I Recommend

It's Fall in New England, so tis the season to curl up at night and read a good wellness book, right?

Right? :)

Here are my favorite five:

1. The China Study by T. Colin Cambell
2. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn
3. Veganist by Kathy Freston

4. The Engine Two Diet by Rip Esselstyn
5. Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman

There is also a wealth of information on the web, of course, but these are my tried-and-true books.
The first two are particularly compelling because they are science-based, which is important. It's very hard to deny the benefits of a healthy diet when you see numbers.

And by numbers, I'm not talking about weight, I'm talking about diet as a tool to prevent or reverse the big three diseases in our country: heart disease, cancer and stroke. Very compelling reads!

So treat yourself to a good read that could change your life!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday!

Breakfast tasted better than it looks (I know, I know, sometimes soymilk just doesn't photograph well, does it?) This was a mix of old-fashioned oats, grapenuts, walnuts, flaxseed, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds, topped with half a sliced banana.

Lunch was a roasted butternut squash, carrot curry soup with an apple :) Have you noticed how amazing the New England apples are tasting right now?  Cortland, Honey Crisp, Empire and Macs. Yum!

Snack was the usual smoothie. This one is a scoop of chocolate plant-based protein powder, half a frozen banana, ice, almond milk and a sprinkle of cacao beans on top.

For dinner I made a big pot of brown rice and then topped it with this simple pre-made Indian dish.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What the Bulk!? Cinnamon Bun Granola

One of my favorite blogs is "Oh She Glows," which always features lovely recipes. Here is a recent "what the bulk worthy" recipe she shared :)

''Cinnamon Bun Granola from Tiny Treats Ebook

Shared with permission by Lisa Pitman and Nicole Axworthy. Tiny Treats Ebook. Copyright 2012.
From Lisa and Nicole: If we ever open a vegan B&B, this will be on each breakfast-in-bed tray. We would keep the guestrooms full by serving it up differently each day–in a layered parfait glass with sliced apples and almond yogurt, or on top of our favourite banana soft serve, or in special tea cup with a substantial splash of coconut milk. The options are endless.


2 cups (215g) rolled oats
1/2 cup (95g) raw buckwheat groats
1/2 cup (65g) raw walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup (50g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup (40g) raisins
1 tbsp (15mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2.5mL) sea salt
1/4 tsp (1.25mL) fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (120mL) pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (50g) Medjool dates, pitted
2 tbsp (30mL) melted coconut oil
2 tbsp (30mL) water
2 tsp (10mL) pure vanilla extract


1. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, buckwheat, walnuts, shredded coconut, raisins, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
2. Using a blender, blend the maple syrup, dates, coconut oil, water and vanilla extract into a smooth, thick sauce.
3. Pour the sauce into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until all the dry ingredients are well coated.


4. Transfer the granola to a Teflex-lined dehydrator tray and spread into a thin (about 1/2 inch thick), even layer. Dehydrate for 8 to 10 hours at 115F.


4. Preheat the oven to 300F. Transfer the mixture to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and spread into a thin, even layer. Bake for 25 minutes, gently stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even browning. Allow to cool completely before gently breaking into clusters. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge or at room temperature.
Makes about 6 cups of granola.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cool Stuff at Trader Joe's

Welcome back to "Cool Stuff at Trader Joe's" where I point out some of my favorite TJ's products.

This is one I've been buying for years - and hopefully they will always carry. We eat a lot of Mexican (simple bean and rice burritos and roasted vegetables) and this frozen roasted corn could not make life easier!

It has a nice, smokey flavor and is a great addition to chili, burritos, hot or cold grain salads, soups...

I'm sorry I don't remember the price, but I'm sure it's very reasonable. I usually get three or four bags to have on hand!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Useful Website: Whole Foods' Blog

I like Whole Foods. A LOT. And as much as I love to visit their store, it's a little far from home, so it's an every-once-in-a-while place to visit.

So when I'm needing my Whole Foods fix, I read their blog "Whole Story."

Link here!

I think blogs are the best way to get a little dose of information on a daily basis. That is a large reason why I keep these veganmama posts brief. I know we're all pressed for time, but also hungry for knowledge.

So check out "Whole Story," Whole Foods' informative (and fun) blog for stories and excellent recipes!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Vegan Black Metal Chef

Remember last year in honor of Halloween I posted a clip of the Vegan Black Metal Chef? The guy is absolutely nuts!!!

Please click on the link above to entertain yourself a bit :) What can I say, this is my sense of humor!

Before you brush this off as just a joke, check out the web site. It's actually kind of informative!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to a modified What I Ate Wednesday. I apologize for having a smaller than usual post today! Busy girl :)

Breakfast was a big ol' bowl of the usual: Shredded Wheat and oats mixed with some flax seed (ground) and snappy red grapes. So good!

And my afternoon post-lunch snack? The usual! Spinach and kale smoothie with frozen banana, ice and almond milk. Yes, the kale and spinach sound scary; no, you can't taste them!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Goji Glow Energy Bites

Hello there! Last week I had the pleasure of attending a very cool "Superfoods" class at the Bellingham, MA Whole Foods. The class was lead by the talented Karen Ring, of Edible Evolutions. Karen previously worked as the "Healthy Eating Specialist" at the location and is a wealth of knowledge. Just when I think I have a grasp on healthy eating, I keep learning :)

Some Superfoods we learned about were:

1. Greens and grasses
2. Chia seeds
3. Algae and sea vegetables
4. Berries (Goji, Acai, Camu Camu, Noni)
5. Acerola Cherry
6. Bee products
7. Hemp Seeds (my new favorite smoothie "sprinkles")
8. Aloe Vera
9. Raw Cacao
10. Maca Root

Karen demystified these products and kindly gave out samples. The yummiest of the samples were the Goji Glow Energy Bites she made. Here is the recipe:


1 cup almonds, soaked (I use raw)
1 cup pumpkins seeds, soaked (raw)
1/3 cup dates or figs or raisins or any dried fruit combo (basically just to be the binding agent!)
2 T Cacao powder
1 tsp Spirulina
1/2 cup Goji Berries
1/2 cup Hemp seeds
1/2 cup Cacao Nibs

You'll find all these ingredients at Whole Foods. A bunch are in the "whole body" department.


Soak almonds and pumpkin seeds for about 6 hours. Drain and rinse well. Place them in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the dates, cacao and spirulina, process into thick dough. Add goji berries and pulse some more. Remove from processor and place in a large bowl. Use your hands to mush the hemp seeds and cacao nibs in there. Roll into 1/2 inch to 1 inch balls. Dust them (if you want) with toppings (crushed nuts, coconut, sesame seeds, etc).

Best if chilled for at least an hour and they freeze really well!

ENJOY - don't be scared by wacky ingredients :) Even kids would enjoy these. Just don't tell them what's in them!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cool Stuff at Trader Joe's

Welcome back to my new Monday post, "Cool Stuff at Trader Joe's!" celebrating the fact that a TJ's finally opened in our area.

Note to self: DO NOT go to the Trader Joe's at Patriot Place at 2PM on a Sunday afternoon... :)

Onto the cool stuff!

One of our favorite seasoning blends is the South African Smoke blend that comes with its own handy grinder. It tastes like you'd think: smokey! I like to cook a sweet potato in the microwave and then put some of this on top.  It's a blend of paprika, sea salt, garlic and basil. I recommend it!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Whole Foods Harvest Fest

Sorry for the blurry image, my friends, but here is an upcoming event that looks like a lot of fun.

If you're local, it's the Bellingham, MA Whole Foods, Sunday Oct. 28th from 12-4PM. I may or may not be able to make it, but who can resist this sort of outing with the kids?

Click here for more information!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Making my own Kombucha

You probably know by now that I have a kombucha tea addiction :) Anyone else? People who like it tend to LOVE it. It's just one of those tastes! My favorite flavor is Lavender, closely followed by Gingerberry.

The only thing wrong with that is these lovely Synergy teas run about $3.89 a bottle. I'm not saying it's not worth it (it is!), but it adds up when you want to drink the stuff every day!

What' s a girl to do?

Lucky for me, I have some very cool people who read veganmama (yourself included!).  One of my readers recently reached out to let me know she was brewing her own and had an extra "starter cake" to share. Since kombucha is alive (it's alive!!!!) the cake that grows eventually has babies to share. Grossed out yet or intrigued?

So I brewed up 5 teabags in water (ice to cool it off)....

Then added some sugar, which actually gets eaten up by the live stuff!

And it's stored in a big glass jar in my pantry, wrapped in a towel so it's hard and cool. Can you see the cake thing at the bottom of the jar? That's the living kombucha! Crazy stuff, right?

And now I wait about 10 days until it's ready to drink!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

How can it already be Wednesday? Is time just flying by? I swear, once school starts back up I blink and it's New Years Eve!

So what have I been cooking lately...

Breakfast was so good:

Overnight oats in the crockpot recipe you can find right here. I realize I shouldn't eat breakfast in front of my computer, but some mornings I just don't feel like moving over to the table like a civilized person! Still better than eating cereal in the car, right?

I have to say, it tasted a lot better than the picture makes it look! The apples were perfectly cooked and truly tasted more like dessert than breakfast. No complaints about that! Maple syrup (the real stuff) and cinnamon brought out the sweetness. Thanks again to Mike C. for the link to the recipe.

Lunch was Mexican: Seasoned black beans, mango, guacamole, hot black chips, salsa, mushrooms and tomatoes.


 Snack was the usual! Spinach/almond milk/ice/frozen banana smoothie.

Dinner was tastier than it looks, I promise :)

Roasted butternut squash, kale chips, wheatberry salad and some Gardien "steak" bites. Don't you just love food this time of year?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What the bulk?

One of our favorite desserts are "raw balls" as we like to call them. They're so simple to make that my daughter has been making them on her own (note to self: don't celebrate this fact until she also does the dishes after making them!)

This was a recipe I had pinned on Pinterest and finally got around to making :) Have you made the effort to actually prepare some of your pinned recipes? It's so easy to pin and forget about them!

Yes, I make my own vanilla extract. I'm sort of a geek that way :)

Don't they look delicious? They don't have much of a shelf life in our house! It's the perfect mid-afternoon snack and the kids don't complain when there are one or two in their lunch :)

From the blog:

Quick + Easy No Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bites

Yield: 12-15 bites
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes


1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup ground peanuts or ground almonds, to roll the balls in (I skipped this)


Combine oats, almonds, flaxseed, chia seeds, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir.
Melt peanut butter and allow it to cool slightly (I melted mine in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then stirred), then stir in honey and vanilla extract until it's combined. Once peanut butter has cooled a bit, pour it over the oat mixture and mix well with a spoon then bring together with your hands. Once mixture is sticking together, fold in chocolate chips.

Roll dough into golf-ball sized (or slightly smaller) balls, then roll in ground peanuts or ground almonds. These can be eaten at room temp but we really like them stored in the fridge!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cool Stuff at Trader Joe's

Welcome back to my new weekly post, "Cool Stuff at Trader Joe's!"

A round of applause for how much we all love Trader Joe's? Thank you!

That said, I can't seem to get out of the store for less than $100 (I call it the "Target Effect"), but when everything is so affordable and so good and so fun...

This week's product is Sunflower Seed Butter. It's basically peanut butter, but made with sunflower seeds instead of nuts. I imagine it's an acquired taste that won't appeal to everyone, but I really love it. It's not super sweet and a little goes a long way. I've used it in raw balls or energy bars and it changes the flavor in a good way.

Have you tried Sunflower Seed Butter? What do you think?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Veganmama on the road

Eating in a hotel on the road can be a little bit of a challenge when you're trying to eat in a healthy way. That said, if you're willing to ask, most places can accommodate!

On our recent trip up to Maine, we stayed in a hotel that actually had a nice little Irish pub attached to it. Most of the menu items were pretty straight up: eggs, bacon, waffles, pancakes, etc.

I was happy to see Irish oats on the menu, so I asked the server if she would give me some (made without milk) with a side of fruit and peanut butter. Who can resist peanut butter served in a cute little container like that?

I put the whole dollop on my oats, stirred it up and enjoyed peanut butter oatmeal. Mission accomplished and I was very full and happy at the end of the meal!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Roasting Pumpkins

I love the blog "Oh She Glows" and highly recommend any of her amazing recipes. She's really my go-to person for cooking inspiration.

For reasons I can't explain, the idea of roasting a pumpkin (the little sugar ones at the grocery store, not the big guys!) intimidated me. I don't know why, since I confidently roast squash all fall and winter long, but it never occurred to me to try roasting a pumpkin.

Since Oh She Glows made it look so simple, I thought I'd give it a go!

I started by cutting off the stem and halving it.

Scooped out the seeds (which we late roasted with sea salt and devoured!) and placed them on a lined cookie sheet.

Face down to roast....

Roast at 350F for about 45-50 minutes. The exact time will vary depending on the size of the pumpkin(s) and you may need more time. The skin will be slightly darker and you should be able to poke a fork quite easily through.

Dig right in! I ate this piece with a little salt and pepper. Nothing else was needed since pumpkins are naturally sweet and yummy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday! Each week when this posts, I ask myself how it could already be Wednesday again? Time flies when you're having fun raising kids!

To keep up with them, I have to eat a good breakfast each day. This was old-fashioned oats, grapes and hazelnuts topped with vanilla soymilk.

Lunch was simple and filling. A bed of organic baby spinach topped with baby lima beans, mushrooms and apples. Tahini miso dressing :)

Snack was a smoothie made with frozen banana, spinach, ice and almond milk. Are you surprised? ;)

Dinner was very "harvesty." Roasted buttercup squash, kale chips, chick peas and roasted beets!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

veganmama's first birthday!

I can't believe this, but today is my blog's first birthday! Yikes! A year ago when I started, I did so simply to have a way to get some recipes out to people I had met while teaching a class on being vegetarian. I never would have believed I'd have such a following a year later!

I've learned so much over the course of the year and have so many readers to thank for checking in on the blog every day and sending such positive fan mail. Thank you SO MUCH! It means the world to me that I'm reaching a wide audience and helping to inspire and entertain :) Just for kicks, please leave a comment telling me your favorite veganmama recipe you've tried. And if you haven't made a recipe yet, I'm curious what your favorite posts are.

Thanks again and keep in touch!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cool Stuff At Trader Joe's

I'm so happy that we finally have a Trader Joe's at Patriot Place in Foxboro, MA!

To celebrate, the next couple of months I'll be talking about Trader Joe's products every Monday, in my new post, "Cool Stuff At Trader Joe's."

I picked this up the last time I was there to use as a salad topper. I love that there is jicama (tastes like a sweet carrot) and radish (so good for you!) in the mix. So simple to just throw on a bed of greens to jazz up a salad. Delicious!