Mango Guacamole

You don’t need to be a vegan to love guacamole, and you definitely don’t need to be a vegan to love mango! This colorful, tropical guac is a little bit sweet and a little bit savory, and is a great dip or spread on sandwiches. Plus, the mango packed with tons of Vitamin C to help you fight off those winter colds!

Ingredients:

3 avocados, halved and pitted

1.5 tbsp lime juice

1/2 tomato, diced

1/4 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp dried cilantro

1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cubed

optional: add a pinch of chipotle powder for an added kick and smoky flavor!

Directions:

Scoop out the insides of the avocados and place into a bowl. Pour in the lime juice and mash the avocados with a fork until smooth. Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, and optional chipotle powder and stir to incorporate. Add the diced tomato and cubes of mango, and fold into the guacamole. Serve with tortilla or lentil chips.

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Bacon Wrapped Dates

Well, it’s really faux bacon, but you get the point. These bacon-wrapped dates are sweet, savory, and really simple to make! You can serve them at your next party or eat them all by yourself while watching Netflix. I won’t judge.

Ingredients: 

1 package of pitted medjool dates

Almond herb cheese or your preferred vegan cheese (it should have a creamy consistency close to goat cheese)

1 package of tempeh bacon–my favorite is LightLife bacon, but this also contains gluten*

Olive oil or cooking spray

Directions:

Soak the almonds in a bowl of water for 1 hour, then make the almond cheese. You can make it with or without the herbs and garlic, depending on your preference. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for ten minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450F.

If your dates are pitted, it’s time for the cheese. If your dates still contain the pits, slice them open lengthwise and take out the pits to make a hollow on the inside.

Spoon about 1-2 teaspoons of the almond cheese into each date, so that it fills the hollow left by the pit. It’s ok if some spills over the side, it’ll still be delicious!

Wrap each date in a slice of “bacon” and stick a toothpick in the center to hold everything together.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat with olive oil or cooking spray. Place the finished bacon wrapped dates with the toothpicks onto the foil, then brush or spray the tops with olive oil or cooking spray. Place them in the oven for 5 minutes at 450F, then turn them over so the other side can cook and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve warm.

*If you don’t eat gluten or soy, these cheese-stuffed dates are still amazing without the bacon! Just warm them up in the oven for a few minutes and enjoy 🙂

Crunchy Rice Noodle Salad

Happy New Year! For my first official post of 2015, I decided to make something a little healthier than all those sugar cookies from last month. Of course I had to put something “fried” in it, but hey, it’s got some healthy veggies in there too. The puffed rice noodles give it a great crunch and make the whole dish look super fancy. This recipe comes with two options for dressings, because they were both so good that I couldn’t decide which one to use!

Salad Ingredients:

Rice stick noodles (I used Maifun brand)

Grape seed oil

1 package of your preferred lettuce mix

Shredded carrots

1 clementine or mandarin orange, peeled and separated

Slivered almonds

Sea salt

Directions:

Toss the lettuce, shredded carrots, orange slices, and slivered almonds in a large bowl.

Heat grapeseed or olive oil in a frying pan on the stove. Take one rice stick and place the end in the oil to test if it is hot enough. If it puffs up after a few seconds, the oil is ready.

Take a handful of rice sticks and place them in the oil. They should puff up and “grow” in a few seconds. Using tongs, flip them onto the other side so they can cook completely.

Take them out of the oil and place them on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain the oil. Season with a bit of sea salt to taste, and place on top of the salad.

Thai Peanut-Style Dressing:

1.5 tbsp almond or peanut butter

4 tsp lime juice

4 tsp gluten free tamari

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp dried cilantro

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp honey

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. If the dressing is too “peanutty”, try adding some more tamari or ginger.

Cashew Cilantro Dressing (soy free):

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup cashews

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp dried cilantro

1 clove garlic

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp sea salt

Blend all ingredients for 10 seconds in a blender, then pour into a bowl and serve.

Vegan Travels: A Week With No Kitchen

Going vegan is easy when you have access to a kitchen and can make all of your own food. But what happens when you go away for an extended period of time, and you’re only eating at restaurants? If you’re going someplace where you speak the language, you’ll have an easier time adjusting any food orders. Going someplace you’re unfamiliar with or don’t speak the language, though, can be a little trickier.

Tomorrow, I’m going on a week-long vacation out of the country, and will be without a kitchen for the first time since I went vegan. If you’re looking for some ideas on traveling while vegan/gluten free, take a look at the guidelines that I’m planning to follow while I’m away. I’ll show you the snacks I’m taking with me too!

Language/cultural barriers:

If you’re visiting a foreign country, do some research before you go. You want to be able to clearly communicate your food preferences and avoid any awkward situations where you have to send back or refuse food, whether you’re in a restaurant or eating in someone’s home. Learn how to say specific phrases like “no cheese, milk, meat, gluten…” in the local language so you know how to order correctly.

Make your special request list: 

Eating at restaurants can be really difficult with food allergies, especially if it’s a price fixed menu or a buffet. You should have a list of easy-to-make foods that most restaurants will have on hand, and can probably make for you by special request. I usually order plain rice or pasta with olive oil and veggies when I can’t find anything to eat at a restaurant, because french fries alone are NOT a real dinner!

Still hungry? Pack some snacks!

When you’re eating every single meal at a restaurant, your diet can start to get a little bit unbalanced. Maybe you’re lacking in protein or you just didn’t get enough food, and a nice vacation is no place to get a visit from the hangry monster. This is why I bring extra snacks with me that are protein-rich, non-perishable, and easy to travel with! Here’s my list:

-Almond milk “juice boxes”: single-serving almond milk containers that I can pack in my suitcase and have each day with cereal, coffee, etc. (like this one, for example)

-Ziploc bag of gluten free rice cereal in case breakfast options are limited–my favorite are these “cocoa snapz”, and they come in an easy-to-carry environmentally friendly bag!

-1 small jar of almond butter to use on toast, fruit, or veggies if I’m feeling a little bit protein deficient

-Small bag of trail mix: cashews, almonds, craisins, and gluten free pretzels

-GoMacro protein bars (my favorite are the Banana + Almond Butter)

Vegans On A Plane

Plane food is just the worst. Airport food is usually not much better. So I pack a full meal for the plane, even if it’s a short flight. You might think it’s only a few hours of traveling, but you’ll still spend time going through customs, finding your luggage, finding a car, driving to the hotel…and by that time it’s been another three hours, you’re starving, and you’re thinking about eating your shoes. Instead, you can save your shoes and pack the following:

-Avocado/veggie sushi–it’s a no-mess lunch option and packs easily in your bag!

-Almond butter + jam sandwich–does not need to be refrigerated so it won’t spoil quickly, and has protein to keep you full

-Banana

-An orange for hydration–planes are very dehydrating, and an orange is a naturally hydrating fruit. Not to mention it’s got tons of immune boosting Vitamin C, which is a great thing for all the germs you come into contact with on a plane!

-I will also buy a large water and a coconut water at the airport to stay hydrated during the flight.

 

Whether you’re staying home or traveling across the world, I hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday, and I’ll see you back here next year! 🙂

-Perri

Vegan Gluten Free Jammie Dodgers

I’m going to geek out a little bit right now and tell you all about my favorite TV show, Doctor Who. If you’ve never seen the show, it’s about a two thousand year old space-time-traveling, face-changing alien called The Doctor. He basically saves the universe on a weekly basis with his time machine and various human companions. Now that you’re all caught up, why am I posting about this on Christmas Eve? It’s because the BBC airs a special episode on Christmas Day each year, and it’s a huge television event around the world. I realize that “space-time travel” doesn’t exactly sound very Christmas-ey, but trust me, it’s the best Christmas tradition ever.

In a few episodes, the Doctor mentions that his favorite cookies are Jammie Dodgers, a popular biscuit in the UK. So, what could be a better snack to have while watching the Christmas special than these cookies? I googled the ingredients for Jammie Dodgers and found out they are actually vegan (COOL!) but unfortunately not gluten free. Naturally, I had to create a gluten free and vegan recipe for all of you gluten free Whovians out there. They’re a perfect dessert to have for your holiday dinner, or the part right after dinner when you sneak away to watch the Christmas episode of your favorite show.

jammie dodgers

The Doctor with his Jammie Dodger!

Jammie Dodgers are traditionally made with shortbread cookies and raspberry jam. The recipe below is for shortbread cookies, but I also tested these out with my Vegan Gluten Free Sugar Cookies and they were awesome. Shortbread and sugar cookies are similar, but shortbread cookies have fewer ingredients and are heavier on the butter. I adapted my shortbread recipe from Martha Stewart. 

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups gluten free flour mix: 3/4 cup brown rice flour, 3/4 cup gluten free oat flour, 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup arrowroot powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup coconut butter

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup cold water

Raspberry jam

DIRECTIONS:

1) Place the cup of coconut butter into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for another 30 seconds. Add the vanilla, flour, and salt, and beat the mixture until it is crumbly and everything is incorporated.

2) Add 1/4 cup water and 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce to the bowl and mix with your hands until completely incorporated. The dough should stick together at this point.

3) Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic, and refrigerate for one hour.

4) Remove from the fridge and let the dough warm up for an hour before rolling it out.

5) Line a cookie tray with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 325F.

6) Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness on a piece of parchment paper. Use a circle cookie cutter about 3 inches wide to cut out circles from the dough. You should end up with about 20 circles.

Note: Jammie Dodgers are sandwich cookies with jam in the middle. The bottom cookie is a full circle, and the top has a hole cut out of the middle. So if you have 20 circles of dough, you’ll end up with 10 Jammie Dodgers.

7) Take half of the circles and cut a hole out of the middle with a cookie cutter or a knife. The hole can be circular or heart-shaped!

jammie dodgers 2

8) Transfer all the cookies to the cookie sheet and bake at 325F for 15 minutes until golden brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and let them cool for 30 minutes.

9) Spread jam on each of the bottom cookies (the full circles). Place the top cookies (holes in the middle) on top of the jam.

Holiday Sugar Cookies

These cookies are a Chanukah tradition in my house. They are full of sugar, but everyone deserves to indulge a bit during the holidays. Dip them in some coconut “egg” nog, snuggle up next to the fire, and have a wonderful holiday! 🙂

Ingredients: 

For the cookies:

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup coconut butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg equivalent of ener-g egg replacer (1.5 tsp powder + 2 tbsp water)

1 cup gluten free oat flour

¾ cup brown rice flour

1 tbsp arrowroot powder

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

2 tbsp cold water

1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

For the frosting:

1.5 tablespoons almond milk

1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

1) Soften the coconut butter in the microwave on high for 15 seconds, then stir with a spoon until you get a smooth, creamy paste.

2) Pour the coconut butter and sugar into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer or whisk vigorously.

3) Add the vanilla and ener-g egg replacer, and continue mixing until everything is combined.

4) Add the flour, salt, arrowroot powder, baking powder, and continue mixing until you get a crumbly mixture and everything is incorporated.

5) Finally, add the cold water and applesauce, and mix. The dough should not be wet or sticky, but should hold together well.

6) Divide the dough in half and wrap each part in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for at least one hour, but you can also freeze the dough for a week if you’re not ready to bake it yet.

7) When you’re ready to bake, the dough needs to be taken out of the fridge and warmed up for about 1-2 hours before you can roll it out successfully. Roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick, and cut shapes out with cookie cutters.

8) Bake at 325F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges, and let them cool for 30-45 minutes before frosting.

9) Mix the powdered sugar and almond milk together to make the frosting. Add more sugar to make it thicker, and more almond milk to make it thinner. Frost each cookie and decorate with candy, sprinkles, and chocolate chips.

Peppermint Chocolate Fudge

I’m sticking with my holiday dessert theme to bring you another Christmas treat! I used this really simple recipe from Katy’s Kitchen to make my peppermint fudge. Her recipe makes a basic chocolate fudge, so I put a little holiday spin on it. I replaced the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in her recipe with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract + 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract. 

I crushed three full-size vegan candy canes to sprinkle on top of the fudge before putting it in the fridge to set. To crush the candy canes, put them in a sealed ziploc bag, place them on a cutting board, and use a hammer to crush them into small pieces.

candy canes candy canes 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

peppermint fudge

I also made a white chocolate version of this fudge recipe! I used vegan “golden white chocolate” from Organic Nectars.  The color is actually a tan/brown as opposed to white, though it tastes like white chocolate. I used 3 oz of the white chocolate, 2.5 tbsp coconut milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 tbsp coconut oil for this version. I also sprinkled some crushed up candy canes on top because it’s Christmas!