Tag Archives: vanilla

Adventures in Fruit: FUYU!

This sounds like an insult but it’s actually a delicious fruit. Sometimes called ‘persimmon’ this particular variety should be available in most specialty markets when in season.
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Fuyu (when still yellow) has the texture of a not-quite-ripe nectarine with the flavor of honeyed pear with a dash of vanilla; I prefer it at this stage because it’s sweet but not overwhelming. When completely ripe it tastes like a mouthful of clover honey. If you see it, don’t hesitate… try it!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Virtual Vegan Potluck: Guava Cheesecake!

Today is a special one because you’re visiting a page that’s part of the Virtual Vegan Potluck! This is the second one that Turning Veganese has been fortunate enough to participate in and it’s a great way to look at lots of vegan food blogs and even some non-vegan blogs that are participating by presenting a vegan dish. I definitely recommend exploring. Use the “go forward” and “go back” buttons at the bottom of the page to participate.

I wanted to be sure that Florida culture came out in my Virtual Vegan Potluck contribution so I decided to include some local flare. Guava pastries are a staple in our Cuban heritage, coconut and lime are ubiquitous in Caribbean cuisine so I wanted to include them in this recipe, and pecans are here to represent the Southern elements in South Florida culture. This is an incredibly easy recipe and shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes to prepare. All you need is a good spring form pan and the ingredients.

First prepare the crust by combining the following in a bowl:

1 cup of medjool dates, soaked overnight in water, drained and blended until smooth

1 cup of shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened

1 cup of crushed pecans

1 cup of almond meal

1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

a pinch of cinnamon

Mix these until uniform, adding extra water if it’s dry. It should be crumbly and a little sticky.

Once you like the texture, moosh it into the bottom of your spring form pan.

Now that you’ve got your crust, we’ve got to make the ‘cheese’cake part. It’s simple too:

1 carton of silken tofu

1 tsp starch (we used arrowroot) dissolved in 1 tbsp of lime juice

7 ounces of guava paste

Put all of that into your blender and blend until smooth. Pour it over the crust and put it into your freezer.

I sprinkled mine with some additional coconut to make it extra pretty. It’ll be ready in 4 hours.

Remove the wall of your spring form pan and serve. It will get gooey as it melts so put your spring form base on a wide plate to catch anything that falls off the edge.

This concludes my part in the Virtual Vegan Potluck event and I hope you’ll visit all the other posts in the chain. If you’re new to Turning Veganese, I hope you’ll visit again. Click on the “go forward” or “go back” button below to see what else the Virtual Vegan Potluck has in store for you!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off to head to the Potluck!

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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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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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Blueberry Banana Smoothies!

It was an uncharacteristically lovely day here in South Florida (and that’s really sayings something) so I decided to whip up some smoothies to enjoy on the balcony while the sun went by. Anyone can do this with a good blender and some fruit, fresh or frozen. I get bananas every week but sometimes they are too ripe for breakfast and then they go into a bag in my freezer. That’s what I used for this recipe.
1.5 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp carob powder
1 tsp maca powder
1 inch of a bourbon cured vanilla bean
almond milk (use soy milk if you’re sensitive to nuts)
I covered the frozen fruit in almond milk and blended until it was smooth. We ended up with a nutritious frosty treat. I was kind of excited about how well it turned out in terms of flavor and because we had to eat it with a spoon.

Our bodies have evolved over millions of years to extract nutrients from what we eat. While people often supplement their diet with vitamin pills, there’s no substitute for the foods that are the source of those nutrients. This is particularly true of the nutrients that we don’t yet understand (like resveratrol) and those which we aren’t yet aware are important. What I mean to say is, if you need vitamins to attain “complete” nutrition, then there’s something wrong with your diet. We should all get to know our food a little better; it’s really fascinating.

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. Bananas are a great source of electrolytes and folate. Almond milk provides a dearth of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E and omega fatty acids. Sadly, the calcium and vitamin D in almond milk are added, but almonds themselves are a source of micronutrients that you just can’t get from dairy milk, like choline, omega fatty acids, and iron. Bananas, blueberries and almond milk comprise the bulk of the treat but what about the minor ingredients?

Carob gives a chocolate flavor without the mild stimulant effect of chocolate that comes from an alkyloid called theobromine (the stimulant in tea). I would have used cocoa powder if this was a morning instead of lazy afternoon snack. As far as I’m concerned, cocoa and carob are indispensable ingredients for vegan cooking. Carob and maca are both rich in trace minerals like selenium and magnesium. Maca gives a nutty flavor and combined with vanilla and carob gave the whole thing a richness that I would swear by. Maca contains a notable compound called p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate (I know, I know… quit it with the molecule-speak). This particular compound is probably what gives maca it’s reputation as an aphrodisiac and maca is currently being investigated for its apparent effects on mental and reproductive health. Vanilla is exactly that: apparently boring but indispensable as a flavoring. You don’t really notice when it’s there but you definitely know something is wrong when it’s not. Vanilla was the finishing ingredient for marrying the rest of the flavors: fruity, nutty, chocolatey and smoothed them out into something special. 

Thanks for checking out my rant on whole foods and I hope you get to eat something as delicious and nutritious as this in your near future… or at least when it warms up wherever you are.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Coconut Lemon Custard PIE!

I got some Meyer lemons at our local market. Is there anything these crazy Floridians won’t grow?
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Anyways, Meyer lemons look like lemon colored oranges and tastes like a lemon would if it wasn’t acidic… at all. They’re mildly fragrant and delicious. I decided to make them into a lemon coconut pie. This is what I started with:
6 Meyer lemons
1 1/2 cup of shredded coconut (unsweetened)
4 tbsp coconut sugar
1/3 cup of cashews
1 box of silken tofu
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract (optional, if you don’t have coconut sugar)
1 tsp of arrowroot starch
1 tsp of vegetable gelatin
1 pinch of salt
I combined the lemon juice (be careful to exclude seeds and any rind from the mix as it will make the pie bitter… like mine was /sadface) tofu, half the coconut, cashews, vanilla extract, sugar, starch, gelatin and salt.
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I blended them until they were smooth and then poured them into a saucepan and heated it to marry the flavors. While I did this, I adjusted the seasonings. After it was steamy and warm, I poured the mixture into a springform pan over a crust in the style of Melissa’s previous raw cheesecake experiments  using another 1/2 cup of coconut in addition to the nuts and dates.
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I sprinkled the remaining coconut over the top and put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes and them moved it to the refrigerator. The texture was light and smooth.
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I did get a little too much of the rind from the lemons into the custard and it made the end product slightly bitter but it didn’t stop us from devouring most of it.
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The coconut and lemon were complimented beautifully by Melissa’s date crust. WIN!
This is Christie, signing off!
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Macaroons… funny name, serious snack.

I love macaroons and have found that raw cookies resembling macaroons are a staple in vegan cuisine. Still, I’ve been craving the real thing. Shredded coconut is high in fiber and saturated fat. You might think, “this chick is terrified of fat… what’s she doing with coconut?” The saturated fat in coconut is largely composed of fatty acids like lauric acid, capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic acids. Maybe now you’re thinking, “speak English, woman!”

Fun fact: your brain is the fattiest organ in your body – almost 2/3 of it is fat. Your brain is kind of like a huge incredibly intricate ball of electrical wiring, except instead of using rubber and plastic to insulate the wiring, it uses fat. Fatty acids like those found in coconut and other tree nuts, avocado, olives, and certain grains like flax make excellent building blocks for your brain. The fiber in these foods also makes it easier for your body to absorb these important nutrients.

Okay, now my brain hurts from thinking too hard and I must replenish it with macaroons. You’re going to need the following ingredients.

1.5 teaspoons EnerG egg replacer or starch
4 tablespoons almond or soy milk
2 tbsp syrup (agave nectar, maple, whatever kind you like)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 tbsp almond or cashew nut butter (peanut butter works in a pinch but has it’s own distinct flavor, cashew and almond are more neutral)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (omit the 2 tbsp of sugar if you get sweetened shredded coconut)
1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional, if you want chocolate macaroons!)
Preheat oven to 325F/160C degrees. Line a metal baking sheet with parchment and grease it lightly with olive oil or cooking spray. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl, stirring and perhaps microwaving to get them to blend well. When everything is uniformly mixed, combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well. It should form a semi-dry dough.
Place rounded teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheet you prepared earlier. I ended up mooshing them into appropriate shapes with my hands and then making an indentation in the middle with the bottom of the spoon.
Bake for 15 minutes. For an additional 5 minutes, watch the macaroons closely and take them out of the oven if the edges start to get too brown. Pick up the edges of the parchment carefully and place the parchment on a clean dry towel on a cool surface to cool. Makes 8 or so cookies. I drizzled mine with some cocoa that I melted with coconut sugar and cocoa butter.
This is Christie, signing off. OMNOM!
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