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My Garbanzo CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 cans (15oz) organic chickpeas, drained
1 cup finely shredded almond meal
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
dash of sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
Almond Extract optional
1-2 bag vegan chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients except chocolate chips in food processor with S blade. When combined to a cookie dough consistency, take out blade and mix in chocolate chips with a spoon. Place on a cookie sheet. Use spoon and spatula to shape/flatten into cookies. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

I use the minimum cookie dough to hold together chocolate chips. As you can see from my video, I don’t really measure anything.

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Lettuce Wrap with Red Bell Pepper, Cucumber, and Avocado

A question on my facebook page requested what veggies to be added to her diet for the year. I came up with this recipe just for her. She has both health and weight loss goals.

red leaf lettuce
2 red bell peppers chopped
1 cucumber cubed (skin left on is fine, peeling is optional)
2 avocados
juice of 1 lemon
handful of cilantro, chopped
sea salt to taste

Place chopped vegetables in a bowl. Scoop out the contents of the avocados with a fork and add. Pour the lemon juice on and mix. Add salt. Keep in a large glass storage container so you can scoop the amount of filling you want in a clean lettuce leaf.

I chose this lettuce because it was not only beautiful, but on sale and organic at Ralphs. I buy all my produce organic, if possible- but with lettuce I can really taste the difference.

You can also add corn, chopped carrots, or any other vegetable you’d like to try. Sunflower seeds would add a nice crunch. Using lettuce instead of a tortilla has the benefits of being gluten free, having more vitamins and minerals, lower calorie, and I frankly find it fun. It is often even cheaper than tortillas- cheaper and healthier! Yay!

Keeping a head of lettuce plus a ready to go box of filling will be a quick and easy meal throughout the week. Remember- I don’t really believe in self control. I make lots of easily accessible options for myself that are healthy, and not that much work. The lemon is really effective in keeping the avocado nice, green, and pretty. Making food look delicious is at least half the battle.

Holiday Eating Tips

Holiday overeating can really drag you down and put on the weight you’re going to try to lose starting on January 1st. This cycle happens every year! I came up with some tips to help smooth this transition from overeating and crash dieting to celebrating Veggie Fairy style.

1. Enjoy yourself.

Again, I’m not the food police. I’m a big proponent of pleasure. Maximizing pleasure while minimizing damage.

For example: I’d rather have one scoop of really good quality vegan chocolate ice cream that I really savor, than eat a whole box full of sugar free packaged cookies. I’d rather have full fat deliciousness in a small portion, and really be present with it than mindlessly watch tv while eating an entire box of oreos. Mindless snacking equals mindless weightgain. But on the other hand, rather than pushing down stress with overeating, I like to fully feel my happiness from a delicious dessert.

 

My husband lost 25 pound being married to me: eating delicious food until he was full, AND he insisted on eating dessert every meal! How did he do this? Would you like to feel full, lose weight, and increase your energy?

2. Eat what you really like in small proportion.

It’s been shown that the more you deny yourself of your craving, the more it comes back with a vengance. Have a little. Enjoy it. I don’t believe in guilt as a tool for health. I don’t believe in self control. I believe in giving yourself  rewards and treating yourself nicely. If you eat real meat: eat a little bit and really enjoy it. If you eat tofurky: eat a little bit and really enjoy it. Just make the bulk of what you eat unprocessed vegetables.

3. Bring a vegan side dish.

Whether you’re the “weirdo” vegan in your family, or just trying to be healthy: offer one potluck dish to bring to dinner. Make sure it’s something that will be a home run. It’s should be something yummy you’ve prepared in the past, and something that has been non-vegan taste tested and passed. It shouldn’t TASTE healthy. It should be healthy. Hopefully something that tastes so good, it would fool someone who isn’t vegan. Vegetables are magic if you prepare them correctly. Try my Party Salad.

Also, the plus of bringing your own food with enough to share, is that you can be full mostly on your healthy food, which will leave some room for your “sometimes” food: like processed soy products or animal products.

4. Bring an awesome attitude.

I’ve gotten teased for making healthy choices. I have a very “in your face” family that tries to make each other feel embarrassed. My mom would always say, “They only tease people they like.”

I never tell them what to eat unless they ask me.

I have an uncle who’s had multiple heart attacks but still smokes and eats McDonald’s. Doesn’t everyone have an uncle like this? I’ve never tried to make him feel bad about it or given him a lecture. I just treat him lovingly. I’m always happy to see him. He’s such a good present giver-we (me and my forty cousins) call him Santa sometimes. But it’s his life and he makes his own health choices. I respect his ability to choose. Do I wish he’d make different choices? Yes. Do I bug him about it? No. He knows where to find me if he wants my help.

I’m not the type to say, “look at the poor turkey you slaughtered” or “that poor piggy-smarter than a three year old human, and now we’re eating him.” I never use guilt or scare tactics. I just happily eat my alternative foods and try to be cool about it. Not all vegetarians agree with me- obviously.

I try to be understanding to those who criticize my eating choices. Change can be very scary for people. They don’t mean to treat me like a personal threat: but they treat me like a threat with a preemptive attack on me. I try to say things that aren’t defensive, like “If you have questions about my food choices, you’re welcome to call me later in the week when I have more time to talk about it. I just want to enjoy time with my family right now, including you.” Anything that defuses the situation. I often say like a broken record, “I’m not a preachy vegetarian,” as a response to people trying to bait me into an argument.

I don’t like arguing. I don’t like conflict. I just like gently beckoning. It’s not everyone’s style: but it’s mine.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Help! My child wants to be vegetarian

If you’re child has shown interest in being vegetarian or vegan don’t worry. Take a breath! It’s okay. You’re in safe hands with the Veggie Fairy.

In this modern age of google and instant cookbooks on Amazon: there isn’t a shortage of information. The trouble is sorting the essential from the nonessential.

Why Be Vegetarian Or Vegan

1. Google the phrase “why be vegan.” Of course you’ll get some haters out there telling you why it’s unsafe and you, your children, and everyone you know will die: but these claims are based on emotion rather than fact. A. It’s good for your body. B. It’s good for the environment. C. It’s obviously good for the animals.

Add more vegetables

2. Focus on what to add, not what to take away. Many people focus on the “not animal” rather than the “yes vegetables.” Almost everyone I’ve met gains weight when they become vegetarian: I believe it’s not only because they still eat potato chips like it’s a food group, but they end up eating bread and cheese as their main staples. They don’t have a predominant fruit and vegetable diet because they’re filling their craving for fat with white flour and dairy products. A craving for fat is good: go with it! Just choose plant sources such as unrefined coconut oil, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. But again: the bulk of your food should be unpackaged vegetables.

 

Read the Veggie Fairy

3. Read my blog. Okay- so I’m not a complete narcisist, but I am someone who’s been at it for over 13 years. I’ve read a sickening amount of diet books and cookbooks. I read cookbooks from cover to cover as well as all the major diet books. I read about the human body to no end: I’ve taken way more human biology classes than a non-doctor would ever require. But I’ve tried everything and have wittled down the good stuff for you. I’ll share my favorite recipes and cookbooks.

Try out vegan and vegetarian restaurants

4. Go to vegan restaurants. Though it may not be in your budget to eat out every night: if on special occasion you eat out at a veggie restaurant, find what your favorite foods are and recreate it at home. Google the recipe and you tube cooking instructions. The internet is our free university: though obviously not everything is accurate, trying new recipes is not the most risky behavior.

Drink Whole Green Juice

5. Switch your breakfast to a whole green juice to pack in as much goodness as possible as early in the day as possible. Found out how HERE

If all this free stuff doesn’t work for you, or you don’t have the time, I’m always happy to stop by and teach cooking lessons to you, your kids, or both. My illustrious educational career includes teaching preschool to becoming a credentialed high school arts teacher (and 6 subjects of adult school, if you must know.) I’m happy to teach any age, and make it fun, exciting, and easy. Just EMAIL ME to arrange an appointment!

Glass Straws: Reduce Plastic and Have Fun While Doing It

Glass straws! Why?

Plastic Cup

Our Old Cups....

I personally like to reduce the amount of plastic I use to a minimum. It is a petroleum product after all, and though one cannot abstain completely, one can reduce the amount used.

Everyone knows your morning green smoothie tastes better in a fast food shaped cup. There’s something about a cup with a straw and a lid that makes things more pleasurable and familiar. For goodness sakes, drinking green liquid is one of the most foreign things you can introduce to your daily routine.

Being a child of the eighties, I was advertised to from a young age. I still remember every commercial jingle. Watching cartoons, I was familiar with every cereal brand and fast food characters. Fast food and it’s imagery make me feel safe, warm, and tingly. I wish it didn’t. But why fight it? I can use the part of me that wants a Wendy’s Frosty and drink my smoothie that’s spinach, chocolate, and ice and play pretend. It’s delicious- it just happens to be green and good for me and in a fun cup!

I started with these diner looking cups from Costco. A pack of three for $19 was perfect for our three person family. And we all get our own colored straws!

We still use them on the go or when we have our two year old neighbor visit.

But as fun as a transition the plastic cups were, when I realized I prefer glass, I replaced the plastic with the quart sized wide mouth mason jars. They’re super easy to clean (because of the wide mouth) and I ordered plastic lids in case I couldn’t finish a smoothie and wanted to save it for later in the fridge. You can buy cute cut out lids from etsy that come with a mason jar.

I spent a day and a half researching glass straws. You can buy plain glass drinking straws, but they tend to roll off the counter top and shatter. In response to the runaway straws, some people make drinking straws with dots on them. The dots can identify who’s glass drinking straw is who’s by being different colors, like our handy plastic ones. The dots are a super smart idea.

But why have a dot, if you can have an adorable animal! I asked my husband if he wanted a dot or an animal, and he responded in his british accent in a higher pitch than usual, “I would like the turtle.” I’m glad I have a husband who isn’t afraid to play “fun time.”

So I ordered a froggy for myself and a dragonfly for my daughter. Frogs are my favorite animals, and Cossette is mysterious, illusive, and rare like a dragonfly.

I got my straws through Etsy seller ManyMinis if you want to look at her other cute stuff!

Make sure you pick up a straw cleaner somewhere. I think I got my straw brush at Bed Bath and Beyond or Surfas, but a lot of kits will sell you the brush with the straws themselves. You can put glass straws in the dishwasher, but I think my animal will last longer handwashing it. Glass gets cleaner than plastic, so my germ fears are quelled.

 

Easy Raw Vegan Collard Wrap…and I deserve it!

Before the bundle

I had the most sensual lunch of super thinly sliced carrots, cucumber, sprouts, heirloom tomato, with a custom garlic yogurt sauce wrapped in a collard green. Yum!

Veggies Wrapped in Veggies

It may look like rabbit or turtle food, but I enjoyed it more than any decadent dessert (and I have had many.)

This is a picture of me wandering the streets of Paris on a warm summer night. Yes, that is a nutella banana crepe from a street vendor in my right hand AND a violet ice cream cone in my left. There aren’t enough hands for the amount of food I want to eat.

Have you seen a happier girl? You would have if you saw me eat my collard wrap:)

 

Gluten-Free Vegan Bran Muffins

This recipe makes too many vegan muffins. If you don’t think you can eat thirty, I recommend you split it.

1/4 cup Flaxseed Meal (I keep the already ground Bob’s Red Mill type in my fridge)
3/4 cup Water
2 cups Rice Milk (soy, almond, or hemp work fine)
1 cup Canola Oil
3/4 cup Agave
3/4 cup Black Strap Molasses
3 cups oat bran
1 cup oat flour
1 cup gluten-free all purpose
1 cup potato flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons soy powder (optional)
4 cups raisins
2 cups chopped walnuts(optional)
1 cup vegan semi sweet chocolate chips (very optional)

1. Mix flaxseed oil and water in the blender for two minutes. You can put it in the fridge for one hour to let it get thicker like the fake egg it’s pretending to be, but if you’re in a hurry (which I usually am)you can just start mixing it into the wet ingredients straight out of the blender.
2. Mix the wet ingredients.
3. Whisk the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
4. Mix the wet and dry together. The dough will be thicker than you’d expect because I changed this recipe into gluten-free and it tends to seem crazy. It’s basically “play dough” thick.
5. At this point, I split the dough into the two containers and mix in chocolate chips for my daughter and raisins and walnuts for my husband. You could just use all the dough and mix raisins with or without walnuts or chocolate chips. If you’re a single person planning to eat all thirty, you may wish for variety- it’s your call.
6. I stuff the dough in level with my hands into regular or mini muffins tins sprayed with oil. I usually put my husband’s raisins and walnuts filled muffins into big-boy regular sized muffins and my daughter’s chocolate chips into mini muffins.
7. Bake at 375 for 22-25 minutes.

This recipe was originally taken here where it is not gluten free. If you want the original recipe, you can just substitute all the flours with whole wheat pastry flour. I’ve made it this way and it’s yummy, but this mixture I made including the potato flour make a very moist and yummy gluten free alternative. And I took out the honey and rewrote the recipe in fewer steps. Me and Cossette hope you like it!

Uncomplicated Raw Deliciousness

Dining in the Raw by Rita Romano

I first bought this un-cookbook when I was pregnant with Cossette. I was raw vegan for most of my pregnancy, and now she’s a giant genius. Maybe I could have eaten candy exclusively for my pregnancy and she would have been fine, but who’s to say? I ate meat twice because I tried to be a really intuitive eater, and I followed my cravings. But generally, my cravings and ideas about health coincided.

Anyway, when I bought a book that said “Raw” on the title and then found cooked recipes, I felt frustrated because I felt tricked. This feeling of feeling tricked caused this book to go directly on the shelf to gather dust. I just found it again recently, almost ten years later, and realize what a treasure it is.

Back in the day, I was just doing raw by myself with no books. I ate veggies and fruits as well as raw nuts and seeds. I loved doing it, but couldn’t keep it up much longer after I had a baby to take care of, as well as work and school. I found myself shopping every two or three days just to have fresh raw food in the house.

I read a book called “Vegan on the Cheap” which not only has awesome yummy recipes, but practical tips on how to plan. Since reading it, I have planned a weekly menu which got me into the practice of buying groceries once a week and sometimes only once every two weeks.

With planning on my side, I am now ready to take on “Dining in the Raw” with it’s over 700 recipes.

What a fool I was to not read it sooner! But then again, the recipes didn’t sound good to me at the time, and I was overwhelmed by the shear volume of the book.

I’ve made the Fennel Slaw which looks and tastes like a party with bright red cabbage and fennel. The poppy seeds are what push you over the edge to euphoria.

The butternut squash soup was amazing. I ate a whole batch myself. I felt like I couldn’t get enough.

I look forward to making Mint Jelly, Bechamel Sauce, Alfredo Sauce, Lemon Pudding, and Excellent Key Lime Pie to name a few. All vegan and almost always raw.

There’s a guide on how to make your own sprouts and why they are a healthy choice. She talks about how sauerkraut is important to eat daily, and because raw versions are expensive, she gives an easy recipe for making a large batch.

Before every chapter, she explains in detail what ingredients are and how to use them. This book is full of glossaries, measuring charts, sprouting instructions, galore.

The only downside is possibly being intimidated by the encyclopedic size and you’ll put it on your shelf for ten years. Seriously: don’t do it. Read it. You’ll thank me.

My husband and daughter DESPISE celery: both the taste and texture.

I happen to love both, and today while they were at work and school I made Celery Soup (a raw cold soup) and it was delightful

Celery Soup
1 head celery
1/2 cup of tahini
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon
4 scallions
dash cayenne
Braggs amino to taste (an unfermented, wheat free soy sauce, Whole Foods)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

Blend all ingredients, adding enough water to make a creamy soup. Garnish with parsley.

Because I made it only for me, I used a few celery sticks, about 1/3 cup of tahini, 1 clove of garlic still (I love garlic,)juice of one half lemon, and one scallion with the water and tamari. I genuinely forgot the cayenne and parsley, but it was still awesome!

Stuff I Eat: Restaurant Review

Be swept away to another time period on Market Street in Inglewood, California. And while your at it, get thrown into the future of delicious and healthy culinary bliss at Stuff I Eat.

The very first time I ate at Stuff I Eat, a lovely young gentleman tried to impress his vegan date by taking me to this out of the way restaurant. Right when we walked in, we realized that they were already closed. The two people working there insisted that we stay, and made us both custom meals that were delicious! This kind of customer service really is above and beyond, and they won me over by both their kindness and their food.

Since that first day, every time I’ve been there they’ve impressed me a little more. They serve very fresh organic greens along side a wide variety of grains with a main dish of good ol’ fashioned American comfort food: all while being top of the line vegan. They give generous portions at more than reasonable prices in a large space filled with ultra-hip ambiance.

I feel completely comfortable bringing any friend, vegan or not, and feel confident that they’ll be impressed by both the ambiance as well as any item they choose on the menu.

And don’t forget dessert. I had the most beautiful raw “cheesecake” like slice of something called Funky Chunky. It was rich, creamy, and decadent in a way that you’ll definitely feel like you’re being naughty when your actually being pretty nice to your body.

Cashew Cheese

1/4 Chardonnay or water
1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Cup Cultured Vegetables
2 Tbsp Miso
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Dry Mustard (the spice, not the condiment)
1 Cup Cashews (soak for 30 minutes, then drained)

Put water or wine in the blender. Add the rest of the ingredients in order, and add extra water to desired thickness. Let it sit on counter overnight to cultivate cultures.

The original recipe is called “Chardonnay Cheese” by Chef Tanya of Native Foods. I don’t find the wine necessary (and it kills cultures…) but it does bring a yummy funk. She also asks for 1 tsp of prepared Dijon mustard, but because I don’t buy packaged foods in general, I replaced it with mustard powder and apple cider vinegar. She also asks you to use sauerkraut, but I make my own “cultured vegetables” Donna Gates style (no salt or vinegar: just cabbage, carrots, garlic, and ginger shredded with culture starter in a huge jar for a week.)The recipe still isn’t quite “Body Ecology” because there are cashews in it.

Sometimes I use different seeds or nuts like almonds, pepitas, etc.

AND I usually double the recipe because we love it so much. We usually eat some right away because it’s too yummy to wait for and leave the rest in jars on the counter top for one night. I use mason type jars I label with a dry erase marker, “Yummy Cheezy Awesomeness” or some other cute name depending on my mood. It’s lovely to have in the fridge for a quick snack. Thinned out, it makes a yummy dressing and really counters the bitterness in a green salad. I make quesadillas and other various sandwich spread uses, but it’s best with carrots and celery or baked blue chips.

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