Category Archives: Snacks

The Good Bean!

I love discovering vegan snacks! They are usually products that I would have never taken a second look at before going vegan. I found this particular product while I was in Toronto:

The Good Bean is based in Berkeley, CA, so it’s funny that I discovered them in another country. (There is only one store near me that sells their products and it’s a store that I have never been to.) The packaging tells you everything you need to know about their snacks: lots of protein, high in fiber, gluten free, and non-GMO.

I tried the sweet cinnamon flavor. It has a very subtle cinnamon flavor that is well balanced with vanilla as well as a nice hint of salt. The beans themselves are as hearty as you would think, which means that you’re not likely to eat the whole bag in one sitting. Yum!

Check these out if you get a chance. They’re simply a fun and healthy snack! –Melissa

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Salsa Verde!

I know a lot of us have probably seen these in a local grocery store or farmer’s market and didn’t know what to do with them. This is a refreshing traditional preparation that’s quick and easy for company or just to enjoy yourself.

Friends, meet tomatillo! I love making salsa verde with these babies so here we go. You’ll need the following:

juice from 1 lime

1 generous pinch of vegan sugar

1 pinch of salt

1 jalapeño

1/4 cup cilantro, stems and/or leaves

5-6 lemon or lime sized tomatillo, husks removed

I hate wasting things so I usually save the stems from my cilantro when I use the leaves for a garnish. This dip gets blended up anyways so nobody will know but you that you. Fun fact: cilantro stems keep their unique flavor and aroma when frozen.

I spray a baking sheet with olive oil and bake them at 355F/180C on the top rack next to the broiler burner so that they blacken, usually for between 5 and 10 minutes. I’ve definitely taken a few tomatillos out of the oven to discover one was on fire. Don’t worry (put the fire out first, okay?) just blend them as usual after picking off any parts that are papery from being burned.

Then I throw all the ingredients into a blender and blend until everything is uniformly chunky or smooth, depending on your preference. This salsa is awesome on corn chips, tacos, burritos, whatever you want that needs a tart, spicy kick

This is a quick easy recipe that’s sure to please. We hope you get to try it!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Move over lunch meat, it’s TEMPEH!

Tempeh is a vegan food product made from fermented soybeans. Before you turn your nose up at the idea of something being fermented, remember you’ve probably eaten a number of other fermented products including all alcohol, leavened bread, yogurt, buttermilk and cheeses. Fermentation adds a number of unique compounds not normally abundant in soy, in particular B vitamins. Vegans don’t always get enough B vitamins so it’s good to know good sources of these crucial nutrients along with protein, iron, calcium and trace nutrients like isoflavones and flavones that studies suggest may have preventative effects for heart disease and cancer.

We’re eating some tempeh that I see at a lot of supermarkets here in South Florida. It’s pre-marinated in a variety of flavors. We especially like this one (shown below)

I usually treat it like bacon except that it’s actually good for you.

I browned it lightly in a non-stick skillet and wrapped it up in a cabbage leaf with greens, bell pepper, and some Follow Your Heart sesame miso dressing that we’ve been enjoying for salads.

I’m a big fan of tempeh and I hope you’ll get to know it a little better if you’re not friendly already. It’s awesome!

This is Christie, signing off.

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Cantaloupe Bowl of Berries!

Summer is here and local fruits are ripe and gorgeous. There aren’t any words for how delicious this was so I’ll let the visuals speak for themselves.

Enjoy your summer bounty!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Mango Daquiri with Thai Basil

Brent and I were feeling adventurous this weekend and a generous tree gave me a couple of free mangoes on my way home from work on Friday so I decided to make some daquiris. We combined the following in the blender:

flesh from 2 large mango, skin and seed discarded

juice from 1 lime

several sprigs of basil, leaves only

1/2 to 1 cup of rum (optional)

coconut water as needed

We blended it all up, adding coconut water until we liked the texture and then were ready for an afternoon of watching summer storms and laughing together.

We used Thai basil. It’s got a cinnamon sweet flavor and added a lot to this drink. Regular basil or no basil would be fine too but I love my greens! Mango is definitely a nutritional powerhouse and is great for your digestion as well as being a great source for vitamins and minerals.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off.

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Nuts about Flowers: Lavender Almond Chia Pudding

After how adorable and delicious the rose pistachio chia pudding turned out I wanted to give another flower combo a go. I decided that lavender might have the right herbal flowery aroma to pair with toasted almonds so I will need the following:

1 tsp lavender syrup (more if you like sweet things)

1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

10 or so roasted almonds

2 generous pinches of food grade lavender flowers

I combined the seeds, syrup and almond milk and set it aside for about half an hour.

While the chia were absorbing the liquid, I put some roasted almonds in a paper bag and bashed them with my favorite rolling pin. It was very cathartic.

I mixed them into the pudding with the lavender flowers, saving some of each for a garnish. This is a refreshing snack that I feel like I should be enjoying with a cup of Earl Grey tea.

Some of you might be asking yourselves what sort of syrup I use for my lavender and rose flavoring. Monin makes vegan syrup in organic and conventional varieties as well as sugar free syrups. I’m a big fan of their line.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Granola: not just for hippies and hikers anymore!

Food dehydrators aren’t just for apple chips and other dried fruits and veggies. They’re also great for making your own granola. Brent and I have a generic recipe that’s pretty much fool proof.

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup buckwheat groats

1 tbsp flax or sesame seeds (optional)

1 cup dried fruit (we’re using 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 cup goji berries)

1 cup  nuts (we’re using slivered almonds)

1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)

1 tablespoon of carob or cocoa powder (optional)

2-3 tablespoons of  jam (we’re using raspberry)

Combine the following in a large bowl and mix in the jam until the mixture begins to stick together. Spread it out on a drying sheet and dehydrate 4 hours. My dehydrator doesn’t have any heat settings or a timer. If yours does, don’t worry: this is fool proof, remember?

Buckwheat groats add a lovely crunch even if you decide not to add jam and dehydrate the mixture. When we make that instead, we call it museli. It’s got less sugar and is just as delicious. We put museli and granola over soy yogurt, fresh fruit, non-dairy ice cream or with regular cereal. It’s also great by itself as a snack. Buckwheat, oats, nuts and dried fruit are loaded with balanced protein, soluble and insoluble fiber, iron, essential fatty acids, important trace minerals and lots of vitamin C and B vitamins.

 

It’s also versatile: you can add a pinch of cinnamon if you’re so inclined; switch jam for rice nectar or maple syrup; add any fruits you like – apples and bananas are great! Use quinoa flakes instead of rolled oats… okay, now I’m hungry.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Nuts about Flowers: Rose Pistachio Chia Pudding

Rose is one of my favorite flavors. I’m not big on the flowers themselves but as a food ingredient I think rose is the bees knees. I’m known to add a little rose syrup to a glass of sparkling white wine every now and again (I especially love Spanish cava!) so I’ve got rose syrup just lying around. I have long wanted to make rose pistachio rice pudding but have been too lazy to cook rice… that’s kind of sad. Anyways, I was recently introduced to the joys of chia seed pudding and it’s quickly become a house favorite.

I wanted to use rose with pistachio to flavor chia seed pudding; I just had an inkling that the two would work well together. I also wanted to see the pink and green together.  I combined the following:

1 tsp rose syrup (more if you like it sweet)

1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

about 10 pistachios, shelled and crushed

2 generous pinches of food grade rose petals

I combined the seeds, syrup and almond milk and set it aside for about half an hour.

I shelled and crushed the pistachios and mixed them into the pudding and garnished with a little pinch of petals and nuts. I LOVED how the nutty, salty vanilla roasted flavors in the pistachios picked up the delicate rose and made it warm and earthy in addition to being deeply floral.

I love how the pink rose petals offset the green of the pistachios against the calico pudding. The petals aren’t necessary for good pudding, I’m just secretly artsy. If you use your own petals, be careful that they weren’t treated with any chemical herbicide, pesticide or fungicide that might make you or your family sick. This is common with roses you might buy at your local florist.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Maca and Carob Chia Seed Pudding!

I love pudding. I really love pudding. When I saw An Unrefined Vegan’s chia seed pudding I decided that I had to have some. I’m not very good at following instructions so I made my own version of Food Doodle’s pudding.

I combined the following:
4 tbsp chia seeds
2 cups vanilla almond milk (use soy-milk if you’ve got a nut allergy)
a splash of almond extract (optional)
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp carob powder
a smidge of maple syrup harvested by my cousin (maca is already very sweet and this might not necessarily need to be sweetened)

I’ll take an aside to promote maple syrup farming: this centuries old practice promotes the preservation of old growth forests, typically with a minimally disruptive human intervention. Above is a picture of miles of tubing running through the woods into a pair of collection vats that must be emptied several times during the repeated freezes and thaws of spring. Great care is taken to keep the taps and tubing clean so that the sap doesn’t ferment and the trees stay healthy to produce during the next season. The tubing is put into place after the first snow and removed after the last thaw has passed. I love the smell of maple sap being boiled down. Grade B is my favorite kind of maple syrup. It’s supposed to be lower quality than the grade A “fancy” syrup that looks so lovely in clear glass bottles but I love the intense maple flavor.

I let it sit for half an hour and then ate it. I kind of shared with Brent but not really. I really love pudding. It was delightfully nutty and chocolatey and loaded with antioxidants, calcium, omega fatty acids and other good-for-you stuff. I lé recommend. I’m also realizing that this is a very versatile recipe and can be manipulated with the ingredients you prefer… next I’m thinking mint chocolate chip!

This is Christie, signing off.

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Mango Madness and a Milestone!

Guess what?! Today is the six month anniversary of Turning Veganese! Wooot!!!! It’s been six months since I decided to go vegan. I can’t believe it. I never dreamed that the blog would become what it is. I had no idea how much I would learn about cooking, food and myself. I can’t believe that it’s only been six months! I’m so thrilled and… goodness, I wish I had planned better for this day because I have so much to say but no idea how to say it.

So, I’ll say this: I am so grateful. Grateful that I can share this with Christie and Brent. Grateful for how rewarding going vegan has been for me personally. And I am especially grateful for you. Yes, YOU! Our lovely and loyal readers. All of your support, comments, knowledge sharing and humor has meant a lot to me. I think I speak for Christie and Brent when I say that we are happy to have met you and to have joined your community.

Lest I embarrass myself, let me get back to business. It is our anniversary week, but I feel like we should declare this week MANGO WEEK on Turning Veganese.

Noooo, not THAT Mango. The fruit!

Oh hello, delicious goodness! This concoction was fresh and easy. I took a manila mango and made three big slices, cutting as close to the pit as I could. I took the two “ends” and used a melon baller to scoop out the meat. Why? Because balls are pretty. Heh. Balls. Ahem. Next, I cut up some strawberries and threw it in the mix. I still had some mint, so I topped it with some mint. Finally, I spotted some crystallized ginger, so I finished it off with some ginger bits.

It’s funny… I used to hate mangoes as a kid. I think it’s because my first memory of mango was in dried form. We use both ripe and unripe mangoes in my household. The unripe ones are eaten in a savory style and can be quite tart — another turnoff for a little kid.

It’s a small victory for me whenever I have fruit because I used to be very fruit deficient. I kept a food diary a few years ago and went over a month without eating fruit. Unbelievable!

Okay, I’m back to being really excited about this being our six month anniversary. Yay! I hope you will all do a celebratory dance for us!! –Melissa

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