Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Cherry Granola Bites

Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Cherry Granola Bites -- Epicurean VeganJess at Healthy Exposures posted these last week, and I knew right away I had to try them. I made a few changes, just based on what I had on hand and on my taste preferences, such as subbing brown rice syrup for the molasses, as I’m not big on molasses. You can see her original recipe here.

INGREDIENTS:
3/4 C quick oats
2 Tbs brown rice flour
2 Tbs wheat germ
1/2 C peanuts, chopped
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/4 C chia seeds
2 Tbs flax seeds
1/2 C dried cherries, chopped
1/2 C dark chocolate chips
1/2 a banana
2 Tbs brown rice syrup
3 Tbs almond milk
3 Tbs peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a mini-muffin pan (genius idea, Jess)! Set aside. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, wheat germ, peanuts, seeds, cherries, and chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Cherry Granola Bites -- Epicurean VeganIn a smaller bowl, mash the banana with a fork add the syrup, almond milk, peanut butter, and vanilla. Whisk thoroughly and combine well with the dry ingredients.

Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Cherry Granola Bites -- Epicurean VeganFill the muffin cups with the mixture, pressing down firmly with a spoon. I didn’t fill them quite to the top, but you can—they won’t overflow when they bake. Depending on the size of muffins cups you use, the number you get will be different; I got 15.

Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Cherry Granola Bites -- Epicurean VeganBake 15 minutes, or until the tops turn a golden brown. These make such a great little snack and I imagine, a heck of a lot healthier than store-bought granola bars. As an alternative, you can use a 8″ baking pan and then cut them into squares after they bake. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy them, especially since they’re so simple to make.

Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Cherry Granola Bites -- Epicurean Vegan

 

 

 

Feast On This!

Have You Discovered Happy Cow, Yet?


Happy Cow is a fabulous vegetarian/vegan resource to locate veg-friendly restaurants, meet other veggie-mites, recipes, and more. Join for free, set up a profile, chat, partake in forums, learn more about being a herbivore than you ever dreamed possible! When traveling, it’s a handy resource for finding veg-friendly restaurants in a new city or town. It proved helpful while I was in California and needing to find places I could eat at. Sign up for their newsletter to keep on top of veggie news, updates, and even contests and giveaways. Gotta love that!


While You’re At It . . . Visit Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine


The PCRM is a non-profit organization headed by Dr. Neal Barnard and 11 advisory board members from around the country. They are supported by subscribers to their quarterly publication, Good Medicine. The PCRM works toward finding preventative solutions through research for cancer, diabetes, and other conditions, while promoting alternatives to animal testing and other unethical testing. Encouraging a vegetarian/vegan diet, they have a great online Free download-ableVegetarian Starter Kit and lots of other literature and fact sheets. They have a great collection of articles for vegetarian/vegan information—just a click away. Check out The Veganizer, a helpful chart with suggestions on how to veganize typical meals. And be sure to read about the lawsuit the PCRM has just brought against the government for deceptive language used on the recent dietary guidelines.

In a lawsuit filed this week against the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, PCRM says the Dietary Guidelines are clear about what to eat more of—vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, for example—but deliberately hide the foods Americans should eat less of. The Guidelines use biochemical terms, such as “saturated fat” and “cholesterol” instead of specific food terms “meat” and “cheese.” This deliberate omission can be traced to the USDA’s close ties to the meat and dairy industries, including fast-food companies such as McDonald’s.

-source

A contribution of $20 or more gets you a subscription to Good Medicine which is packed full of research issues, prevention, and nutrition—a worthwhile investment.


And Don’t Forget to Check-in with the Incredible Progress of the Plant-Based Study at

The Plant Rx!


You can’t argue with these results! Just over halfway through the study, participants are continuing to have amazing results from a plant-based diet. After 30 days, one participant’s cholesterol level dropped 49 points! How’s that for results?!  Stop by and see for yourself and send a link to your friends and family—it might just be what they need to see to change their own diets.


 

“Meat consumption is just as dangerous to public health as tobacco use… It’s time we looked into holding the meat producers and fast-food outlets legally accountable.”
-Neal Barnard

Strawberry-Pear Tarts

Strawberry-Pear Tarts -- Epicurean VeganFor about a month, I’ve had some puff pastry in freezer because I accidentally bought it, thinking I was getting phyllo sheets. So, instead of letting it continue to sit and freeze, I decided to make these tarts. Now, even though puff pasty is vegan, it isn’t the healthiest stuff out there and we probably shouldn’t gorge on this stuff on a regular basis—vegan or not. It’s a treat and that’s okay. And these treats you’ll love—not too sweet and ready to eat before you know it.

INGREDIENTS:
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 pear, peeled, sliced thin and cored
6 strawberries, sliced
2 Tbs brown sugar
2-1/2 Tbs Earth Balance, melted and divided
1/3 C walnuts, chopped
4-4″ tart pans

DIRECTIONS:
To thaw puff pastry, remove from bag and place on counter. It will thaw in about 40 minutes at room temperature. Preheat oven to 400. Unfold pastry sheet and place the bottoms of the tart pans on it, cutting around the circles.

Strawberry-Pear Tarts -- Epicurean VeganPlace bottom of pan and cut out dough back into the tart shell. In a medium bowl, combine the pears, strawberries, brown sugar, walnuts, and two tablespoons of melted Earth Balance.

Strawberry-Pear Tarts -- Epicurean VeganDivide the fruit mixture evenly among the 4 tart pans. Roll out the extra dough and using a cookie cutter, cut out a heart or other beautiful shape you wish to make. Place on top of each tart. Brush the cut-out with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of melted Earth Balance.

Strawberry-Pear Tarts -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 20-22 minutes and enjoy!

Vegan Shepards Pie

Vegan Shepards Pie -- Epicurean VeganThis is actually easier to make than you would think. You can nuke 2 large potatoes, or use frozen ones (thawed, of course). I used edamame for some added protein, but feel free to use peas if your prefer. Easier, healthier, comfort food.

INGREDIENTS:
1 bag Boca Crumbles
1 small onion, diced
1-1/2 C cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 C edamame, thawed if frozen
1 C vegetable broth
2 C mashed potatoes
1/4 C almond milk
2 tsp dried chives
1 tsp dried parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 C vegan mozzarella, shredded
Earth Balance margarine

Vegan Shepards Pie -- Epicurean Vegan

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet heat the vegetable broth and add the onions and Boca crumbles. Cover and let simmer over a low-medium heat, season with salt and pepper; stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes, add the mushrooms and edamame. Cover again for 5 minutes.

Vegan Shepards Pie -- Epicurean VeganMeanwhile, add the potatoes, milk, mozzarella, chives, parsley, and garlic in a mixer and cream until slightly smooth.

Vegan Shepards Pie -- Epicurean VeganLightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish with a little Earth Balance.  Pour the Boca mixture into the bottom of the pan and spread out evenly. Next, layer on the mashed potato mixture and spread evenly over the top.

Vegan Shepards Pie -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Red Cabbage Slaw with Truffle Dressing

Red Cabbage Slaw with Truffle Dressing -- Epicurean VeganI’ve had this recipe in mind for a couple of weeks since we received a red cabbage from Green Buffalo Food. Every time I opened the fridge, it would remind me that I have to make something with it, and soon. Even after two weeks (and being organic) I was shocked that it was still in great condition. Whew!


Red Cabbage Slaw with Truffle Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

INGREDIENTS:
Slaw:
1 red cabbage, sliced, then chopped
1 bell pepper, any variety, sliced thin
6-8 green onions, sliced

Dressing:
1/2 C Vegenaise
3 Tbs Tofutti sour cream
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp truffle oil
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 black pepper
1 Tbs water

DIRECTIONS:
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, bell pepper, and green onions. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and coat well. Enjoy!

Cheeze Swag is Awesome: Galaxy Nutritional Foods

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to taste and review rice and soy cheezes from Galaxy Nutritional Foods thanks to Sharon at Sharon Kitchens (and of course, to GNF)! I received full sizes of the following: Rice American Flavor slices, Rice Pepper Jack Flavor slices, Soy Mozzarella Flavor block, Rice Cheddar Flavor block, and Vegan Grated Topping. I’ve used the Grated Topping many times before on pastas and when making pesto. Galaxy Nutritional Foods has been around since 1980 and feels very strongly about providing tasty products made with natural ingredients. Their mission is also to help the environment and developed their Eat Green for Body & Earth Program where they take seriously, three things: Keeping Ingredients Organic, Reducing Their Carbon Footprint and Doing Their Part at the Office. Check out their Green Initiatives.

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PEPPER JACK FLAVOR VEGAN RICE SLICES

Pepper Jack flavored slices were a first for me. These dairy, gluten and soy-free slices contain 2 grams of fat per slice, no saturated fat, 5 grams of carbs, and 120 mg of sodium. I made a panini using a slice . . .

And even though it didn’t really melt too much, the flavor was quite delicious and had the perfect amount of seasoning; ideal for a panini. I was impressed.

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AMERICAN FLAVOR VEGAN RICE SLICES

I use these types of cheezes a lot, but this particular brand is new for me. I have always used Tofutti brand and I like the taste just a smidge more than these, however, with that said, I will be converting to Galaxy Nutritional Foods and here’s why: 1.) These slices are soy-free. I still enjoy some soy, but I think it ought to be in moderation—especially for  women. 2.) GNF slices have 2 grams of fat, whereas Tofutti American flavor slices have 6 grams. 3.) GNF has 0 grams of saturated fat where the others have 3 grams. 4.) Tofutti has 290 mg of sodium, compared to GNF’s 120! That’s a big deal, too! GNF does have 5 grams of carbs, where Tofutti has 2, but for me, the other nutritional facts outweigh a couple extra grams of carbs. These slices are perfect for sandwiches, and for my favorite Boca chick patty sandwich.

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MOZZARELLA FLAVOR SOY VEGAN BLOCK

I decided to make pizzas using this cheese. I often use Daiya or Vegan Rella cheezes because they’re soy-free and I like the tastes. Vegan Rella, however, can be sticky and hard to use when it’s shredded. All of these cheezes, including this one from Galaxy Nutritional Foods, melts quite nicely. And the GNF shreds great.

I just wasn’t nuts above the flavor. In fact, it lacked a lot of flavor. Perhaps it’s the soy—it seems I prefer their rice-based options more. The texture is great though–I have no problem with that; very much like real cheese.

But here’s what can be a game-changer for you: Again, GNF comes out on top when we’re talking about nutritional facts. 1.) GNF has 3 grams of fat, half that of Daiya. 2.) 60 calories (30 fat calories) and Daiya has 90 calories (60 from fat) 3.) Daiya has 2 grams of saturated fat, while GNF has .5! 4.) Again, GNF rocks with their lower sodium content at 150 mg whereas Daiya as 280 mg per serving. 5.) GNF has 6 grams of carbs and Daiya has 7. So overall, it may come down to the soy and whether or not you prefer to avoid it.

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CHEDDAR FLAVOR RICE VEGAN BLOCK

Today, I made nachos with the Cheddar Flavor Rice Vegan Block. This would also work with quesadillas, or a grilled cheeze sandwich, too. Like the Mozzarella flavor, this one shreds well and I like the texture.

I nuked the nachos for about 45 seconds and it melted well. However, like the Mozzarella block, it lacked flavor. I know it’s not easy making fake cheese taste like the real deal, but I prefer the taste of other vegan cheddars. BUT . . .we have to look at nutritional facts. Again, GNF scored mega points with that. Total fat is again 3 grams with .5 grams of saturated fat. The sodium content is higher in this one (compared to the Mozzarella) at 240mg—but still under other vegan cheddar brands.

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VEGAN GRATED TOPPING

I’ve been using GNF’s Vegan Grated Topping for a while now. The texture is great and I enjoy the flavor. It’s ideal for pesto, on pasta, and anything else you’d need Parmesan for.

Overall, I was greatly pleased with these Galaxy Nutritional Foods products and I am glad I had the opportunity to try them out. I’m definitely going to be buying the rice slices–I think they’re tasty and much better for you than other brands.

All-Natural, Vegan Dog Treats

All-Natural, Vegan Dog Treats -- Epicurean VeganSorry, these may not look appetizing to you, but your dog will love them! Have you ever looked at the ingredients in some commercial dog treats? They are packed full of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and animal products. They’re pricey, too. Save your money (and your dog’s health) by making your own—they’re so simple. Our dog, Moe (a 90-lb lap dog) LOVES peanut butter and as much fun as it can be to watch him try to lick it off the roof of his mouth, biscuit treats are a much simpler (and less messy) alternative. These would be cute cut into the shape of dog biscuits, but since we usually only give him small treats at a time, making these bit-sized ones were ideal. The recipe is from All Natural Dog Treat, offering lots of different recipes, including a grain-free peanut butter recipe. These treats will keep at room temperature for 2-3 weeks, or 6 weeks in the refrigerator. They are also freeze-able and . . . Moe-Approved.

All-Natural, Vegan Dog Treats -- Epicurean VeganSorry about the duck, folks. But Moe knows we don’t eat meat and that his birthday present—turned 4 earlier this month—is just for pretend. :)

INGREDIENTS:
1-1/2 C whole wheat flour
1-1/2 C white flour
1/2 C organic, all-natural peanut butter
1 C water
2 Tbs oil

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350. Using a mixer, combine the water, oil and peanut butter; cream until mixed well. Add the flours one cup at a time. You will have a crumbly mixture. This is where Moe poked his head into the kitchen, fully aware that I was making something with his most favorite and beloved ingredient. He stuck by my side in the kitchen until The Husband took him for a walk.

All-Natural, Vegan Dog Treats -- Epicurean Vegan

Press together tightly to form a hard ball.

All-Natural, Vegan Dog Treats -- Epicurean VeganI then divided the dough in half so that it’s easier to work with. Just work a little quickly as the other half of the dough will start to get a bit drier. Roll out to a 1/4″ thickness and cut into 3-4″ shapes. I used a pizza cutter to make little squares. Obviously, feel free to make any size or shape that your pup’s little heart desires.

All-Natural, Vegan Dog Treats -- Epicurean VeganThis is just half the dough—I ended up with twice this much. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Hopefully, the peanut butter smell in the house isn’t torturing Moe, but at least he gets these all-natural treats to make up for it!

All-Natural, Vegan Dog Treats -- Epicurean Vegan

America’s Top Ten New Sandwiches-Veganized! And my Contribution

300th Post! Woo-hoo!

Last month, Endless Simmer did an article on their top ten new sandwiches, and as you can guess, none of them were vegetarian, let alone vegan. Big surprise. So Marly of Namely Marly, posed a fantastic challenge to food bloggers, to veganize these cancer-licious sandwiches. I rarely turn down a challenge to veganize a recipe, so I went with #8: Crispy Drunken Chicken Sandwich. Check out my veganized version as well as another version from Veggie Num Num. Thanks, Marly for this really fun challenge and putting it all together. I’m excited to see the rest of the healthier versions of all the sandwiches in the coming weeks!

Feast On This!

Foodies for Farmers


Lisa over at Lisa’s Food on the Move gathered a bunch of vegetarian/vegan food bloggers (including yours truly) to put together a collaborative 132-pg digital cookbook called Foodies for Farmers. All proceeds from the cookbook goes to Farm Aid which raises funds to support family run agriculture and make sure that they stay that way. For a minimum suggested donation of $10 you can download this fabulous vegetarian/vegan cookbook that is packed full of amazing recipes from my world famous party cheese ball to a raw Brazilian fig torte. This is a great way to support a worthy organization–through food! A big thank you to Lisa for putting the time, effort and love into this great cause!


Check out the Results at The Plant Rx!


A few weeks ago, I told you about The Plant Rx and their 60-day Plant-Based Health Study. Well, they are halfway through the study and so far, the results are astounding. I can’t say I’m totally surprised though because I know the vegan diet can cure—yes, cure—many chronic illnesses. One participant was pre-diabetic when entering the study, but  now he is in normal range. He’s also lost 17 lbs . . . without exercise! So far, cholesterol levels are plummeting and they’re only half way through! This has been a great study to watch and read the participants’ blogs have been really fun. It’s really wonderful seeing these folks lives’ change and read about how great they feel. Way to go!


Doctor Yourself and The Gerson Therapy

I had ordered my very own copies of The Gerson Therapy by Charlotte Gerson and Doctor Yourself by Andrew Saul, Ph.D.,  both featured in Food Matters. Gerson’s book details a nutritional program for cancer and other illnesses and has been proven to cure cancers when western/conventional treatments fail. Doctor Yourself is about how nutritional therapy has been proven to treat just about every health condition out there from A-Z. Literally. It’s an A-Z guide from acid reflux to vaccinations. Ok, A-V. It also provides tips and tools on everything from Saul’s Super Remedy to A Crash Course in Vegetarian Cooking. I’m sure as I delve through these books, I’ll be sharing what I learn with all of you. But don’t wait for me. Buy your own copies!


 

“Ham and Eggs: a days work for a chicken; a life time commitment for a pig.
-Author unknown

Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup

Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup -- Epicurean VeganThis comes from the latest issue of Vegetarian Times and was pretty easy to make. I altered a couple of things and it made a comforting, hearty meal.

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium onion, diced (1-1/2 C)
1 small red bell pepper, diced (1 C)
1 small green bell pepper, diced (1 C)
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 C cooked black beans, (I used canned–drained) divided
3 medium potatoes, diced (2-1/2 C)
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs fresh oregano leaves (I used dried)
1 bay leaf (I left this out)
1/2 tsp salt
Green onions, sliced for a garnish
Optional: vegan cheddar, Tofutti sour cream, salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:
In a large soup pot, saute the bell peppers, onions and garlic in a bit of water or vegetable broth for 2-3 minutes.

Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup -- Epicurean VeganTransfer to a blender (or food processor) and blend until smooth.

Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup -- Epicurean VeganAdd 3 of the 6 cups of black beans, as well as 6-7 cups of water. I think a low-sodium vegetable broth would be great, too.  Puree until the mixture resembles a thick soup. I didn’t have enough room in my food processor for all of this, so I pureed what I could, transferred half the mixture back to the soup pot, then pureed the rest with the rest of the water. Transfer to the soup pot and add the rest of the beans, potatoes, vinegar and seasonings. Bring to a simmer; reduce to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish each serving with green onions and/or other optional ingredients. Enjoy!

Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup -- Epicurean Vegan