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Meatless Monday recipe

Super Easy Raw Chocolate Vegan Birthday Cake

It's my husband Brad's birthday today! And he loves healthy superfoods, so I concocted this raw chocolate cake this morning after perusing a few recipes (plant-based pixie, this rawsome vegan life, eating vibrantly). I took what I liked from one, and something else from another, and substituted what I had on hand, and, tada!, it surprisingly turned out great! 

If you haven't tried raw cacao (not cocoa) powder, I highly recommend it for baking and putting in smoothies for a rich, chocolatey, raw superfoods boost! I use Navitas Naturals Organic, available on Amazon

DIRECTIONS

CRUST

1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup walnuts
(pinch of sea salt and a dribble of coconut oil, if you like, but not necessary)

Using a food processor, blend the walnuts into a powder, then add dates and continue to blend until sticky. Firmly pat down into a 7-9" springform pan. (A round cake pan will do, but it'll be harder to cut it out.) Place in freezer.

FILLING

3 ripe avocados
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup raw cacao powder
pinch of sea salt
3 - 4 tsps. agave
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Using a food processor, blend the avocados, vanilla, and coconut oil until smooth, then add remaining ingredients. If you don't have agave, just skip it. Add more or less sweetener, depending on your preference. (And really you can add any liquid sweetener.) I added the sweetener slowly and kept tasting to my preference. 

Spatula ingredients onto crust, then freeze for a couple of hours (even overnight). Let thaw like 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

I decorated mine with walnuts, dark chocolate pieces, and blueberries, but you can add whatever you like--coconut flakes, strawberries, bananas--that's the fun part! 

PS. For all those purists out there, it should be noted that with maple syrup and agave, and possibly the vanilla extract, this cake isn't technically totally raw, but it's like 95% raw.

Enjoy! 


 

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Peanut Butter Dog Treats: "Kookies."

 

Photo: Brad Klopman

Did you know that the world's oldest living dog is a vegan named Brambles? If you'd like to check out this amazing being who could teach us all a thing or two about food, both for ourselves and our pets, click here.

My previous dog, Mason, died of kidney failure, and with 20 fatty tumors plaguing his poor body. I have no doubt it was because I fed him commercialized dog food.

When I adopted Kansas he had degenerative back disease and hip dysplasia from the get-go. He walked like an old man, even as a puppy. I began researching, and found that not only was the cause a lack of proper nutrition, but the solution was also to be found in nutrition.

In fact, there were no cases of hip dysplasia in dogs before commercialized dog food, like 60 years ago. And dogs' ancestors, like wolves, do not have hip dysplasia either. Interesting, no? I wrote a blog post about it. Check it out here.

The post also contains a recipe for stew that I make Kansas each week. His diet is 75% vegan. And although I was told Kansas would not live a long life, he's going strong at 7 years old. (Update: Kansas died January 4th, 2015 from heart failure.)

As Hippocrates, the founder of medicine, said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

Not only do I make Kansas his food, but I also make his treats. I've adapted this recipe from others and added flax seeds for extra nutrition. I've made these many times without flax seeds though. And I have yet to meet a dog who doesn't love them!

Peanut Butter Dog Kookies (K for Kansas)

1/2 cups peanut butter (I use all-natural.)

1 cup water

2 Tablespoons oil (Dogs naturally love refined coconut oil, but you can use vegetable or canola oil.)

1/8 cup ground flax seeds

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups white flour

Preheat oven to 350. Mix peanut butter and water and oil, add flax seeds, then slowly add the rest of the ingredients. Knead dough.

I roll the dough out to 1/4" and use a cookie cutter. But you could also just make the dough into a long cylinder shape and slice pieces to flatten. (I mark them with a "K," because I'm ridiculous like that.)

Bake for 25 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet. Let cool on cookie sheet.

The flax seeds make this a bit gooey because flax seeds by nature are an egg substitute that I use in baking. I usually bake the kookies a bit longer when I use flax seeds.

The treats do go bad so I usually leave about 10 out and refrigerate the rest.

Here's Kansas eating a kookie this morning. A happy peanut butter loving dog!

 

Photo: Brad Klopman

Meatless Monday Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Photo: Brad Klopman

I thought I'd post a super easy Vegan dessert recipe. These chocolate peanut butter balls are so delicious that I had to make them twice during the holidays because they were eaten up quickly--and mostly by non-vegan friends and family.

I searched high and low for a good recipe and then tweaked it and veganized it. I added Rice Krispies for some crunch, and vanilla for a bit more flavor.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (Vegan)

Filling:

3 cups peanut butter, softened

1 cup Earth Balance "butter," softened (I like the original whipped.)

1/4 t. vanilla (can be omitted)

5 cups powdered sugar

1 cup Rice Krispies

Mix the peanut butter and Earth Balance and vanilla, and then slowly add powdered sugar. Once well blended, stir in the Rice Krispies. I get in there with my hands at this point. Roll into balls and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Refrigerate for an hour.

Coating:

1 bag vegan chocolate chips (Ghirardelli makes them. Also Whole Foods has chips that actually say, "Vegan Chocolate Chips.")

2 Tbl. vegetable shortening (There is non-hydrogenated shortening if you prefer. Adding shortening seems to make the chocolate stick better and not crack as easily. It's not a deal-breaker though. Skip it if you like.)

Melt chocolate chips and shortening together and blend well. Dip each ball in chocolate and then place on lightly greased cookie sheet. The photo above is a full dip. The next batch I made I decided to dip only half of each ball, which made them much less messy to handle. I placed the non dipped half on the cookie sheet.

You can either refrigerate these, as my boyfriend prefers, or eat them at room temperature, as I prefer. Or do as we do and put half in the fridge and leave half out.

I also decorate them by putting sprinkles on top. Man, I wish I had some right now. 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Chili

Photo: Brad Klopman

I won't lie. This is another one of my mom's recipes. She makes the BEST vegan chili. And it's so simple. Here's her recipe. 

Vegan Chili

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 med. onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

16 oz. vegan "meat"(like the "hamburger"-type crumbles.)

In a big soup pot, saute garlic, onion, pepper, and vegan meat in 2 T oil until the onion is transparent. About 5 minutes or so.

Add: 

24 oz. can chopped tomatoes and basil

2 c. shredded zucchini (white or green)

2 vegetable bouillon cubes or 32 oz box vegetarian broth

2 cans chili beans, not drained

2 cans pinto beans, drained

2 cans kidney beans, drained

You can use any canned beans to total 6 cans, but for best results always use 2 chili cans. 

Add enough water to cover. Then add salt and pepper and chili powder to taste. Season to your liking. Simmer 30 minutes on low.

Enjoy!