Vegan Mofo Post #19: Cherry, Banana, & Peanut Butter Breakfast Smoothie

My schedule changed. Temporarily, my duties have gone from gallery girl to front desk lady who arises Monday through Friday at 5:30AM to reach my 7AM post. Although it’s been my first week at this new (but not permanent) duty, I haven’t always penciled in breakfast. It’s not smart, yes, I know.
As I prepared my smoothie, I remembered my three months living in Denver, drinking a smoothie and power walking often. My friend, whose place I was house sitting, had hooked me on to flaxseed oil aka the vegan’s way to getting Omega 3. It has no flavor, but seemed to make the drink so smooth and creamy. I returned back to Ohio putting it in everything.
Now I have resumed, after not using it for years. Not sure what made me think about the flaxseed. It just came back like that Celine Dion song.
Cherries and bananas with crunchy peanut butter goodness brings joy to almond milk and flaxseed in a simple smoothie– great for those hasty mornings when time is running out and you have to be the smiling face that greets everyone.

Cherry, Banana, & Peanut Butter Breakfast Smoothie Ingredients and Preparation

2 bananas, ripened
10 dark sweet cherries, frozen
3 tablespoon cacao powder
2 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
1 1/2 cup almond milk (or any other dairy free milk alternative)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend all ingredients together.

Vegan Mofo Post #20: Mint Chickpea & Spiraled Veggie Salad

Spirals and spirals and spirals. I broke out the old Vegetti tool on fresh, organic zucchini. With carrots being tougher (maybe I should get a machine?), I fortunately found a large container of pre-spiraled carrots for $3. I came to Iovine Brothers Produce in Reading Terminal Market to pick up mint and lemons. The carrots were an unexpected surprise. So yes, I cheated.
With my light tahini dressing and pumpkin seeds, this lovely artist’s eye salad has a lot of delicious flavors to chew on. It’s rarely a dull moment.

Mint Chickpea & Spiraled Veggie Salad Ingredients and Preparation

1 15 oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 zucchini spiraled
1 large carrot, spiraled
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon salt
a sprig of mint, chopped
edible flowers, for garnish

Combine chickpeas, zucchini, carrots, and pumpkin seeds.
Mix together tahini, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, turmeric, and black pepper.
Add dressing to chickpeas, veggies, and pumpkin seeds. Mix well.

Vegan Mofo #22: Vegan Macarons From Macn By Mari

A taste of sweet delight of Macn by Mari, amazing vegan French styled macarons. Each cookie is airy and light with a dreamy cream center. So happy to have found these at the Vegan Pop Up.

This apple pie is amazing. A burst of cinnamon and apple flavor make this cookie super exceptional– my personal favorite of the five.

Spooky caramel and delicious pumpkin pie were nothing short of amazing (pumpkin pie my second favorite). And I don’t have to wait for another pop up to get more. Mari’s scrumptious macarons are sold at The Random Tea Room & Curiosity Shop in South Philly. I want to try as many flavors as possible. Sounds perfect with tea.

Vegan Mofo Post #11: Cacao & Peanut Butter Stuffed Dates

It’s National Dessert Day and a fine time to share a four ingredient sweet and salty snack.
Dates are a sweet, divine decadence that one can split open and shove anything inside. Or eat plainly.
Recently, on a trip to the new Burlington Coat Factory downtown, I bought a package of Food Empowerment Project recommended Essential Living Foods Cacao Powder, a steal at $3.99, another birthday present to myself.
Stuffing dates should also be a mandatory weekend escape. There are many, many ways to craft– nutty butters, chocolate and coconut oil, or pumpkin nougat (later). With raw crunchy salted peanut butter, a generous sprinkle of fair trade bliss, and a bit of cinnamon spice, this little treat in the afternoon feels so special and nice.
Peanut Butter Stuffed Dates Ingredients and Preparation
8 dates
2 tablespoon Trader Joe’s Chunky Peanut Butter
1 teaspoon cacao powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Open up the dates and pit if needed.
Spoon in the peanut butter.
Sprinkle with cacao powder and cinnamon.

Vegan Mofo Post # 12: Chocolaty Pumpkin & Cherry Smoothie

The pumpkin love continue on with a cherry twist.
I wasn’t sure how this would come out. Pumpkin and cherries aren’t as well known a combination as pumpkin and cranberries– that tight fit due mostly to their positions on holiday plates. I found a lovely recipe by Nonstop Awesomeness Nathan. I fought back tumultuous jealousy at his catchy blog name whilst imagining him picking fresh cherries from his front cherry tree or the gorgeous orange color that his efforts created….
Just kidding.
I love my smoothie too. I didn’t have much pumpkin puree left and used an ample amount of frozen dark sweet cherries.
One day, I’ll have a cherry tree and a large garden and everything.
Until then. I’m a stickler for frozen fruits and celebrating my birthday with pumpkin goodies.
Chocolaty Pumpkin & Cherry Smoothie Ingredients and Preparation
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cup frozen dark cherries
3 tablespoon cacao powder
2 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Blend all ingredients together. Drink merrily.

Vegan Mofo Post #6: Birthday Eve, A Week of Reflection

The resplendent moon is looking at me through the window tonight, glowing, sending wondrous vibes to my pulsing aura. Clouds swirl around the orb, seeming to bow gracefully.

I couldn’t ask for a better Birthday Eve.

My week has been super busy. From long, long work shifts to writing short stories for a new portfolio, to trying to extinguish unexplainable crushes, to applying for good opportunities in the wake of fresh rejection letters, I have had little time to think fully, let alone paint or prepare a sensible meal.

But now, in thus moment, I look back on the positive.

This week, I received birthday coupons including one to Philly Aids Thrift (used on Monday) and one for Starbucks (tomorrow). I walked around a lot (had to work off rich meals these past few days), enjoyed the superb weather (despite a little drizzle yesterday), and my new James and Co. vegan leather duster came on Wednesday (originally $170, got for $50).

Other things:

I almost bought this heartbreaking series of artworks on small canvas panels. These animals are sadly seeing death of themselves on a plate with the pig and cow have little babies beside them. It spoke to me in a compassionate level, especially seeing as since turning vegan I truly despise meat product companies with smiley face cartoon animals. The industry couldn’t be anymore cruel.

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake is back at Hip City Veg and it tastes better than ever!  That yummy vanilla ice cream  is blended with pumpkin goodness and layered spices, bringing a familiar sweet enjoyment  that screams fall in love. I already have three out of ten stamps used on my milkshake rewards card. And yes, I just started using the card this week!!!

Extreme Veganism and Oreo Cookies: What the What?

I suppose that is me. I am the reason people hate vegans. At least that was the response directed at me via social media from a domestic abuse activist who is only vegan due to a dairy allergy. In case you didn’t already know, I don’t consume meat, eggs, dairy, fish, poultry, or honey. I don’t eat chocolate not of the Food Empowerment List. I don’t wear leather/suede/wool clothing and shoes. I don’t use cruelty laced beauty products, preferring a few brands and/or making my own.

A few days ago, this woman cosigns with London based dietician Sophie Medlin over her ridiculous “veganism is not a healthy ‘diet'” tirade (here’s a redunk) and suggests that vegans eat pretty bad things like Oreos. Once an Oreo lover, I despise Oreo cookies now and not just because of the high fructose corn syrup content. Let’s not even mention that Oreo’s chocolate association likely isn’t fair trade friendly either. To this dairy allergy vegan, who suspiciously acts behinds her allergy and not for sympathy of animal mistreatment, I claimed that Oreos weren’t vegan. She quickly brings up an Accidentally Vegan List and a snippy, uncute “ahem.” When I mention that a company spokesperson backed my honesty, she goes, “that’s why people don’t like vegans” and unfollowed.

The words stuck with me. This notion that a vegan can turn off people even a vegan. Perhaps it is partly due to discomfort. No one wants to hear that cramped animals are militantly lined up on conveyor belts, electrocuted, and butchered apart. They are raped daily with mothers having to part with rape product babies. But it is the taste. The taste is what matters more. The look and the taste of flesh. It is especially hard to give up this taste when history is involved, this meat-and-dairy-consumed inheritance passed down generation after generation. Then, you have vegans who don’t want to hear about Oreos or anything on that list not being vegan. Again, it’s the same factor– taste.

Weeks ago, while having dinner with a friend in Chinatown, she asked me to sniff her food because it smelled like “wet cat and dog.” I rolled my eyes, finding this caring only about house pets grossly offensive. Why condemn the violence against certain nonhuman creatures and accept the malicious treatment of others? It is privileged behavior. Pigs, cows, chickens, ducks, and fish are extremely intelligent beings that deserve as much respect and compassion as treasured cats and dogs.

I refuse to be ashamed, to feel guilty for my compassion for the authenticity of my veganism. For Medlin to argue that this lifestyle is unhealthy is purely based on falsely delivered information that makes meat and dairy consumers feel less shame for the harm inflicted on animals. I will never buy that the flavor of murder is the only way my body can live and thrive on this planet.

The Creative Vegan Donut Frenzy At Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market is surprisingly upping the vegan donut game. With impressive filled and powdered treats filling their bakery display cases, the popular grocery chain is jumping onto the dairy and egg free pastry wagon. Just the other day, they introduced an orange mango creme filled donut topped with dried mango. It was incredibly divine by the way.

This apple cinnamon donut was good. I’m not a huge fan of crisp icing. I suppose that happens when holding onto a donut longer than a day. It’s impossible to eat more than one within twenty four hours. One can feel the sugar coursing through them. That jolt is enough to survive on. Still, the cinnamon sprinkle was wonderful. For a moment, I could believe that this cinnamon and apples were a healthy treat.

I love cherry lime with all my heart and vow to request this flavor everyday. The blueberry pancake donut is also a second favorite. I hope that the bakers continue exploring, that new combinations take up glass display case, and tempt non-vegans as well. A cashier told me that she choses vegan donuts purely because they’re not only damn good, the flavors are unique and fun. Another male employee repeated same sentiments. That often makes me smile, knowing that veganism is carving a small dent in the bakery aisle– a place people truly believe cannot be tasty without eggs and dairy.

Banana Tahini Smoothie

Warmer days call for sweet yummy beverages in tow with generous helpings of water replenishment. In the summer months, I always make sure to have plenty of bananas on hand. They are great for thickening smoothies and milkshakes. Plus the more brown spots they have, the more natural sugars will be available. I wouldn’t have to add cane sugar, maple, or date syrup to these drinks thanks to bananas.
With this smoothie, a few spices and nutty flavored tahini bring together a quick, tasty refresher. The sesame seed sprinkle gives a little crunchy texture to ease out the overall creamy smoothness.

Banana Tahini Smoothie Ingredients and Preparation

2 bananas, ripened
2 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
pinch of cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

Chipotle Macaroni & Cheese Salad

The weather is finally starting to reach scorching level potential.
It’s almost at 90 degrees in Philly today. I’m feeling the heat flames. The bugs are already out and taking mysterious bites. My arms and elbows are red, bumpy, and swollen. Scratching is an irresistible (yet considerably annoying) task when you want to read new book releases, draw a bunch of fashionable box braid models, write new blog posts, obsess over the Black Panther trailer, and consume a vegan ice cream cone. Ugh. As I reminisce on yummy fare, at the same time, I’m researching natural bug bite remedies. Still, I plan on slapping a heaping of coconut oil to the problem. That always works, right? I’m glad they haven’t eaten my face…..
In other news, macaroni and cheese makes for a great chilled pasta salad. On occasion, I’m finding it hard to find a vegan version hitting the restaurant scene. We definitely need a rich, creamy, plant based version of our own, not butter required.
Field Roast Chao’s Tomato Cayenne is my favorite obsession. I have likely stated this love a thousand times. I buy it on the regular. Thus, my pasta mac featuring the amazing vegan cheese has a mild spicy flare. I didn’t have any peppers, but will be sure to include them charred and roasted the next time. I believe it’ll pull the overall dish together.
This mac salad is delicious. The more difficult challenge is to not eating several bowls. After all, tis the season to hold back.

Chipotle Macaroni & Cheese Salad Ingredients and Preparation

2 cup macaroni
1/2 cup almond milk (or any other dairy free milk)
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
4-5  slices Field Roast Chao Tomato Cayenne
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of paprika
2 tablespoon Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo Chipotle

Cook your macaroni to al deinte perfection.
Stir almond milk, tomatoes, Chao cheese, and yeast together, melting these beautifully.
Add salt, turmeric, black pepper, and paprika.
Pour into a large bowl and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
Mix in Just Mayo and serve.