Friday, June 29, 2012

Vegan Baked Peanutbutter-Bacon Chocolate Donuts (low-fat).....recipe included!

Like peanutbutter? Like chocolate? Like bacon? Then this is the recipe for you! 

The Inspiration: A good friend of mine told me about a donut place in San Francisco called Dynamo Donuts that is famous for their maple-bacon donut. I immediately thought I could recreate a vegan, healthier version of that donut that still tastes delicious. I personally don't like maple glazes as they are too sweet, but I had a feeling a slightly sweet peanutbutter glaze would go great with the bacon. I got to researching donut recipes, and came up with one that in theory should have worked out deliciously (and it did).

The Nutrition Rundown: It is free of added fats, the only fat sources are the peanut butter in the frosting (naturally occurring and part of a whole food) and the fat from the cocoa in the vegan chocolate chips which is not very significant and is also naturally occurring. I would say the unhealthiest part of this recipe is the sugar content, but hey, it's a donut for a reason. This recipe is significantly healthier than conventionally made donuts that use animal products, lots of fat, and are deep-fried.

The Results: Pure Deliciousness!! My brother and his best friend, neither of whom are vegan, and both of whom love old-fashioned fried donuts were OBSESSED! Success!

Vegan Baked Peanutbutter-Bacon Chocolate Donuts

Ingredients for Donut dough:
- 1 cup all purpose white flour
- 1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar (regular granulated sugar should work just fine)
- 2 tbs cocoa powder
- 2 tbs fine instant coffee
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 heaping tbs unsweetened applesauce

- 2/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup soymilk
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (any light/white vinegar should work fine)
- 1 egg equivalent (I used the Vegg but you should be fine using a flax egg or Energ-G egg replacer)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla

Ingredients for frosting and topping:
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
Dough after everything has been mixed in.
- 3 tbs soy milk (any non-dairy milk should work fine)
- vegan Bacon bits (or you can bake tempeh bacon if you want to be extra legit)

Directions for Donuts:
1) Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
2) In a large bowl mix together all the "Dry" ingredients, EXCEPT for the applesauce. Reserve this for later
3) In a small pot over low to medium heat, mix up all of the "Wet" ingredients just until all of the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture looks even.
4) Slowly add in the liquid mixture to the "dry" bowl. Mix for about 20 seconds and then add in the applesauce.
5) Stir just until incorporated. Avoid stirring for too long as this will make the dough too tough. The dough should be sticky.
Ready to go in the oven
6) Using a small spoon if using a mini donut pan (If you have a regular sized donut pan, use a large spoon) plop down a dollop of the dough into the molds. This part may get messy but it's okay. Spread the dough into the mold until the mold is filled and the little "whole" in the center of the mold is exposed (aka there is a whole in the dough......this is how the doughnut will get it's whole)
7) Bake in the oven for 13 minutes; the donuts should bounce back when pressed gently.
8) Remove the donuts and let them cool in the trays for a few minutes.
9) In order to remove the donuts, gently spin them around individually while they are still in their molds to ensure that they are free/not stuck. Then remove them (they should come our pretty easily)
10) Let them cool on a cooling rack while preparing the glaze.

Directions for Glaze & topping:
Cooled donuts in the back. Glaze on the left,
and bacon bits on the right. Ready to begin assembling!
1) In a medium bowl pour out the bacon bits and set aside.
2) In a small bowl mix together the peanutbutter, sugar, and soymilk until even and smooth.
3) Pop this in the microwave for about 45 seconds so that it loosens up and is easier to pour.
4) Using a small spoon, gently pour this over the donuts like a glaze/frosting
5) After letting the glaze set for a minute or two (it should not be runny, but should not be completely set) dip the glazed portion of the donuts into the bowl of bacon bits. Set aside and let it set.

Finished Donuts! Ready to be eaten! (mostly by me)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vegan Peanutbutter-Bacon Covered Chocolate CAMPING!

Confused by the title? Here's the deal: I have a delicious Vegan Peanutbutter-Bacon Covered Chocolate Donut Recipe (Baked and low fat), but more on that at the end of the post. First and foremost, I want to recap my camping trip!

Camping this past weekend was SO fun! I went with my Dad, brother, and cousin (okay she's not technically my cousin but we grew up together and she's the closest thing I had to a big sister growing up), and her father (who just so happens to be one of my Dad's best friends since highschool). We camped at Big Pine Creek, and it was quite an experience:
From Left: Dad's Best Friend, my Cousin, my brother, me, my Faja
Our Camping Site
The Scenery: The scenery/environment was amazing. It was very different from other camping setting I had been in. Our actual camping sight was surrounded by trees, a creek, and we even had our own personal meadow! The greater area was very interesting, it was definitely woodsy, but there were also large portions of gorgeous, grey stone/slate mountains. Another amazing thing was the sky; at night there were literally more stars than there was sky. Having grown up in polluted, smog-filled Los Angeles the sky was just breathtaking, and like nothing I had ever seen before……but I still have not fulfilled my lifelong goal of seeing a shooting star :’(

The Hikes: 
Day 1- Willows Lake: Hiking is basically all we did the two full days we were there. The first day we went on a very steep and gorgeous hike to Willows lake. It was only 8.5 miles but took us about 6 hours (including breaks). This hike was challenging for two reasons:
1) The Super-Steep switchbacks on slippery rocks
2) The freezing cold river we had to wade through because the bridge was out
Despite the challenges, it was well worth it to get to the lake and take in the scenery from a much higher altitude!
Crossing the ice-cold river. It was actually painful, like
I wanted to cry....but I did feel super-legit after ;)
The view from the top of the climb, there were a lot more
trees, but they're blocked in this picture.

Day 2- Glacier Lake: The second day we hiked to a set of lakes that are created by the melting of the glaciers in the summer. This hike was definitely easier in terms of climbing, but it was longer in distance, and time. I would also say that this hike was more scenic/breathtaking than the first day’s hike. We hiked a totally of 10 miles in about 8 hours (including breaks) and stopped for lunch at a gorgeous, turquoise lake. I had never seen water this blue or clear. We also spent a majority of our hike hiking through a forest that was lush, beautiful, and looked like it was straight out of a fairytale.
My brother, my faja, and I at First Lake (yes that's actually it's name)

The Eats: I didn't take any pictures of the food because A) Camping food is not that exciting & 

B) I didn't feel like it. What I will say is there was a lot of canned beans, chips, beer, PB&J, and Dr. McDougal's instant meals consumed on this trip. I have to say that the Dr. Mcdougal's instant meals are not only a life-saver, but they are vegan, delicious, and healthy. I love the tamale, pad thai, lentil curry rice pilaf, curry rice pilaf, miso soup, ramen soup, black bean & lime soup, and oatmeal. All you have to do is add boiling water, and in 8 minutes they are ready to eat (or in my case scarf down....graceful as always, I know). ........AAAANNNNDDDD, since I didn't take any food pictures for you all, to the right you will find a Captain Morgan picture of my brother and I at the beginning of one of our hikes. I know, we're very classy people, it can't be helped.

Also, I just finished testing a recipe for Vegan Peanutbutter-Bacon Covered Chocolate Donuts (baked and low-fat, AND delicious) which I will post either later today or tomorrow. Here’s a preview to test you ;)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sassy Summer Strawberry Parfait!

Strawberry Breakfast Parfait (Loosely Adapted from Oh She Glows)
The Lowdown: Chia seeds pudding adds the perfect amount of moisture and thickness to this parfait, while the buckwheat adds a fantastic soft-crunch texture similar to that of granola. All this paired with the delicious strawberries is perfect for a fresh summer snack!

The Inspiration: Fresh, seasonal, organic strawberries ofcourse! ......and my never-ending appetite.....

Nutrition bonus!: This parfait has chia seeds & raw buckwheat, which makes is a nutritional powerhouse and a great post-run snack. Chia seeds have an excellent ratio of protein to omega-3s, and make excellent recovery food when paired with a carbohydrate (like buckwheat); both are also a great source of dietary fiber. The fresh strawberries add some great antioxidants (shout-out to anthocyanins and vitamin c) and also provide some extra dietary fiber!

- 2 tbs raw chia seeds
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup buckwheat
- 1 cup strawberries (or any other berry of your choice)
- pinch of stevia (an organic, sugar-free sweetener)

Buckwheat is on left, chia seeds on the right.
Both have already soaked overnight.
1) Pour almond milk and chia seeds into a container, mix, and set aside overnight to soak in the fridge. Check on it in about half an hour and mix it up if it has clumped. **Chia seeds will form a pudding-like mixture with the almond milk and thicken significantly after soaking**
2) Soak buckwheat in about 1 cup cold water overnight.
3) After soaking overnight, drain and rinse buckwheat well. 
4) Add bucwheat to chia pudding and mix well.
5) Add stevia or other sweetener of choise to the mixture and mix well with a spoon
6) Slice up some strawberries and add to the chia-buckwheat mixture.
7) Mix & Enjoy!

I always like to mix up my parfaits and let them sit for awhile so that the strawberry flavor kinda soaks into the chia seeds mixture, but that's just a personal preference. Mix or don't mix.....whatever floats your boat :)

Run of the mill run

I started off yesterday with a run....9.5 miles...and it felt harder than it should have, but it was still a great run. At times when I felt like I just wanted to stop, random, super inspirational lines from Scott Jurek's book "Eat & Run" would pop into my head and give me a whole new source of power. This book is seriously making me fall in love with running all over again........but enough gushing, here are my splits:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Not Yo Nachos!

I have had a mad, crazy craving for some good vegan nachos....something that lives up to the Real Food Daily Nachos, but I didn't want to order out. Instead I experimented with an idea I had for nacho cheese that would perfect my nachos. I was thrilled with the results and the cheese, as well as the nachos were super easy and delicious to assemble!

Not Yo Nachos Recipe
Nacho bowl Ingredients (nacho cheese ingredients are separate):
- 1/2 cup black beans
- tortilla chips
- spicy, pico de gallo salsa (or any salsa that you prefer)
- hot sauce (I use Valentino's or Tapatillo, but any brand is fine)
- 1/4 jalapeno slices

Cheese sauce ingredients:
- 1 block mori-nu silken tofu
- 3 tbs nutritional yeast
- 2 tbs yellow miso paste
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 cup jarred/pickled jalapeno slices

1) Place all ingredients for cheese in a food processor and process on high until smooth.
2) Place black beans mixed with some hot sauce at the bottom of the serving dish and warm up.
3) Cover with tortilla chips.
4) Top the tortilla chips with generous portions of salsa, nacho cheese sauce, and jalapeno slices.
5) Eat yo NACHOS!!!! Nommmm :)

Run for the Cheeze(cake)! (Fathers day recap)

Started off Father's day with a run with my dad, he ran 10 miles and I ran 11, but we both ran for about the same amount of time. Here are my beautifully slow splits:

We then celebrated fathers day by driving over to Oxnard (younger brother in tow) and biking the Pacific Coast Bike Route for awhile. I'm not gonna lie, it was pretty lame, we though we would be biking along the ocean, but it was actually just a bike path along a major highway near the ocean. Next time I think we should do more research and find bike paths that are actually by the ocean. Does anyone know of any such bike paths that ARE NOT in Santa Monica (those are just too crowded for us)?

Well, the main celebration for me was getting to sit in the car after using my legs for most of the day and let my dad do the driving back from our bikeride.....I know, I am such a thoughtful daughter. But in all honesty my dad is a really laid-back, not demanding type of guy, so he really just wanted to hang out with my brother and I for fathers day and go for a bike ride. We ended up ordering in from an excellent nearby restaurant called Hugo's and I made my dad a special father's day raw, vegan cheesecake. It was chocolate-coconut, but I'm am still working out some kinks in the recipe. It ended up tasting great, but I had to use some raw agave nectar since I underestimated the amount of dates I needed. I also used irish moss, which in retrospect, I don't think I needed. I'm going to make a second attempt at it and will post the recipe when I am finally happy with it, but for now here's are some pictures. I made a large cake and two minis:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lets get a massage.........a KALE massage that is!

Dilemma: I have a bunch of kale that is about to go bad any second, and I want to use it in a salad BUT I don't want to cook it both because I don't want to have to wait for it to cool before using it, and because raw kale is better than cooked kale. **More on this whole Raw vs. Cooked thing later. It definitely deserves it's own post, but suffice it to say that there are definite benefits to consuming certain vegetables and fruits raw. ** The problem is kale is super bitter and hard when eaten raw, which makes eating raw kale a relatively unenjoyable experience in my opinion. 

Think this sounds weird? So did I when I saw it on a restaurant menu. But then I started seeing it on many restaurant menus and began to think that there must be something to this massaged kale business.....and there is!

What is it?: Massaged Kale salad literally means you chop up and de-stem the kale, and then you massage it for a good 10 minutes. NO, this is not just me wanting to get cuddly with my kale, it actually works. In just minutes the Kale literally darkens like 10 shades of green, and becomes soft and more wilty than it originally was BUT it is still raw. After 8-10 minutes of massaging, the kale has lost ALL bitterness and is softer to chew, but definitely not mushy. It is still rich, thick, and has delicious kale flavor, but has lost the bitterness and super-crunchiness of the original raw kale. **Quick Tip** Usually, when I massage my kale I add either lemon juice or soy sauce before I start massaging just to lubricate the kale a bit. Choose whichever one will go better with the dressing you intend to use in your kale salad. 
Before Massaging
Post Massage: It is much darker, softer, and
has lost that "edgey/crunchy" look.

Massage Kale Rainbow Salad with Marinated Tempeh & Dragon Dressing:

Salad Ingredients: 
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 medium carrot
- a handful of sprouts (I used daikon)
- 1 persian cucumber
- 1 block plain tempeh (I used Westsoy)

Dragon Dressing ingredients: (this is totally optional, feel free to use whatever dressing you like)
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp yellow miso

1) Chop up the tempeh and dump it in a bowl or ziploc bag with a bunch of soy sauce. Make sure all of the pieces get exposed to some soy sauce. Let it sit for 10 minutes and pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
2) Place the tempeh onto a tinfoil lined baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. 
3) Remove the tempeh when it is a darker brown, and let cool. 
4) Wash your Kale.
5) De-stem and chop up the kale.
6) Dump the kale into a bowl and massage it for 8-10 minutes. Don't be afraid to get rough with the kale, cause the kale will be rough right back ;)
7) Thinly slice the carrot and cucumber and add them on top of the Kale. Also add the sprouts.
8) Once the tempeh has cooled add it to the top of your salad
9) Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over your salad.

Wait, never heard of Tempeh? What is it? Well let me just tell you!
Tempeh is a delicious soy product that is made when cooked and slightly fermented soy beans are packed firmly together into patties. Usually there is some type of cereal grain like rice, barley, or wheat added to tempeh. Tempeh tastes VERY different from tofu, so if you don't like tofu there is a pretty good chance you will still like tempeh. Some characteristics of tempeh are:
- mild, nutty flavor
- firm, but can be crumbled like "taco meat"
- has more fiber than tofu because it utilizes the whole soy beans rather then precipitating protein from soymilk, which is how tofu is produced
Block of tempeh (Before being chopped, marinated, or baked.)
However, since the soybeans are already cooked, it is fine to eat tempeh
 straight out of the container, it just won't taste as exciting.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eat & Run

Two of the most basic things that human beings were created to do, and that we have been doing for centuries. These two words not only go far back in human history, but they are also intimately intertwined; nobody would know this better than ultramarathonner Scott Jurekwhich is why "Eat & Run" is the title of his new book. After reading "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall, a non-fiction book about running (and so much more) in which Jurek played a very big role, I'm not going to lie, I developed a huge fascination with and respect for Scott Jurek (Side Note: "Born to Run" is itself a truly amazing book, and was a New York Times best-seller, so it's more than worth reading as well). I went on to research his career, as well as listen to and read many of his interviews, and my respect and awe for Jurek has only increased since. He is totally a running rock-star, and has set records for pretty much every major ultra in the US.....all on a VEGAN diet by the way; but he seems like such a down to earth, awesome person. Of course When I found out he had written a book, I immediately went to the nearest bookstore to get myself a copy.

I only started reading it yesterday, but I haven't been able to put it down, and will write a more thorough review once I have finished reading it. Thus far though, it is beautifully and poignantly written, and the way it is structured is great as well. Jurek seems to jump around from one point in his life to another, telling stories and describing how different life events affected him. These stories are also interspersed with great vegan recipes and running tips and advice. 

The Best News Ever!!!: Scott Jurek is hosting a "Fun Run" and giving a talk/book-signing at a running store SUPER close to where I live on this coming Friday, and I am planning on going (DUH). I am literally counting down the seconds until Friday night at 7:30. 

And Now on to far less important my Eats & Runs (Recipe Included)

Me going out for the a bike ride up a long, ever-steepening
hill last last night....not so much fun for my legs
during today's run.
This morning, I was all excited to run because I had been reading "Eat & Run" last night before going to bed and had beautiful, running-filled dreams (nope, I am not kidding nor am I exaggerating). I woke up this morning, had my pre-run smoothie, read another chapter of the book (.....come on, I couldn't help myself) and headed out for a run.
.....that's when my quads and calves staring saying "woah, woah, we're kinda tired" and I remembered I had just gone for a pretty hard bike ride last night. It was a great ride, and I wasn't sore, but my muscles were definitely tight & tired from it. I thought maybe they just needed a few miles to loosen up.....but I was wrong. They stayed tired throughout my whole run, and towards the end they even burned. As a result, I ran super "I might as well have been running through a tar pit" slow.....but it still felt great, because the whole time I was just enjoying the moment I was in, and the freedom of being able to run. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it's the truth :)

Here are my splits, I warn you in advance, they are crappy and depressing on paper...but I still felt like a superhero while I was try to go along with it and let me think it was awesome. K, thanks.

EATS: coming up in the next post!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Real Food for Real Life!

Workout: Started out this morning with a quick 4-miler; it was supposed to be 8 miles but it got soooo hot, so I took the rest of the workout inside and finished up my workout on the elliptical. Finished up the workout with some weights.....yay! No big philosophical workout post today, simple workout with no elaboration needed; the more exciting parts of the day were to come. Like bike shopping and dinner at Real Food Daily.

Bike Shopping

 So for awhile, my Dad, brother, and I have been mountain-bike hunting, trying to figure out exactly which bikes we want. Mountain bikes are a huge purchase which is why we've been doing our research and not jumping the gun on making any purchases.
Here is what we knew we wanted:
- Bikes that are suitable for easy mountain-biking but also okay for road cycling (I plan on using my bike to commute as much as on the mountains)
- Bikes that are UNDER $1000 each, preferably under $800
- Bikes that have lifetime Warrantees on the frames and unlimited tune-ups at the store from which we purchase them
The Options: There are pretty much only 3 large, reliable bike brands in the United States and the two we were considering are Trek & Specialized.
The Decision: Specialized! We went with specialized, mainly just because the two bike companies are equivalent in quality and cost, but the bike store closer to our home only sold specialized, and they offered life-time tune-ups for free (not the case with the store that sold Trek bikes), so that made the decision for us! I personally ended up getting a 29er (29 inch wheels) with a 19 in frame.

Real Yummy Food at Real Food Daily

The Lowdown: Real Food Daily is an organic, vegan restaurant with 3 locations throughout Los Angeles (Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and Pasadena). They have a pretty extensive menu, with several gluten free, soy free, and nut free options. They also have raw options, macrobiotic options, a lot of healthy/balanced options, as well as some staple foods and some guilty pleasure type foods. In addition they have a great fresh juice/smoothie bar and delicious desserts! I come here often, so this is the first of many reviews of my meals at RFD.

What we got: 

Started with the "Not-chos" which are delicious vegan nachos that come with black beans, jalapeno cashew cheez, fresh salsa, fresh guac, tofu sour cream, and jalapeno slices. We have had these before and they are really delicious. Definitely some of the best nachos I have had in my life; my brother feels the same way about them and he's definitely not vegan.

I also got a "Country Miso Soup" to start which was delicious. I like this soup because it has a lot of mushroom and carrot chunks, and a perfectly balanced miso flavor. I am a loser and always order this soup no matter what entree I'm ordering and regardless of whether or not we have ordered appetizers because it's just THAT GOOD.

Cornbread on the left, meatloaf on the right,
veggies hiding behind the cornbread.
For my entree, I ordered the "TV Dinner" which usually comes with a tempeh-vegetable meatloaf, steamed seasonal veggies, golden gravy, and mashed potatoes but I subbed cornbread for the potatoes. The meatloaf was DELICIOUS, and I'm glad I got the gravy on the side because it really didn't need any more flavor. The flavor of the meatloaf is actually somewhat masked/overpowered by the gravy, and I personally liked the meatloaf better on it's own. The corn grain bread was also delicious; it is not your typical cornbread though. This cornbread is made with whole chunks of corn (and possibly rice....I'm not quite sure) so it was definitely more whole-grain, healthy tasting, and not as sweet as traditional cornbread but I was a very big fan of it.

My brother ordered the Club sandwich, he is simply obsessed with this. Every single time we eat at RFD he has ordered this, without fail. I have tried it a few times and it is pretty good, but I always like to try menu items I haven’t had before so I very rarely order the same entrĂ©e. I will say though that if you are looking for an excellent vegan club sandwich in LA, RFD is definitely where it’s at. It even comes with a side of caesar salad which is also delicious. 
My dad ordered the Supreme Burrito with the red sauce or “wet-style” as they like to call it. He devoured it and absolutely loved it, and I tried a bite and have to say it was really good, but it’s a burrito. It was a delicious burrito, but a burrito nonetheless, and burritos just aren’t super exciting to me. But hey, if burritos are your thing, I’m sure this one won’t disappoint. 
We were super stuffed, but I really wanted to try the Marbled Tofu Cheez-cake so I ordered a slice to –go. It is covered with a layer of soy-whipped cream, and the filling was a vanilla chocolate swirl. I’m not gonna lie, the cheez-cake was mediocre as far as vegan cheesecakes go. I have had many that were far tastier and more creative. The filling had an odd tofu/soy taste that usually isn’t a problem in soy containing foods for me, but for some reason it was annoying in this case. The crust was also bland and too moist, which was kinda a bummer. However, I have had many other desserts from RFD and they were all superb, so I’m hoping this was a freak accident of some sort. 

All in all, we had a great day and accomplished a lot. I am so excited beyond belief that we finally purchased our bikes….although odds are I will definitely be the first one to wipe-out when we’re mountain biking. Dinner at RFD did not disappoint……but that tofu cheesecake was sad. I guess I’ll just have to come up with my own recipe for tofu cheesecake and write about for you all so that you are not relegated to eating RFD’s sad cheesecakes for the rest of your life ;)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oysters or Aliens?

Confused by the title? As you should be....but let me explain....
About a month ago, my family was in Berkeley celebrating my graduation with me and we dined at the acclaimed Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco. I had been dying to go there for years, and it completely lived up to all the hype! I will do a thorough restaurant review of our meal there soon, but for now, suffice it to say that one of the standouts was the Crusted Oyster Mushrooms that we had as a shared appetizer. My brother and I went CRAZY for these.....there's a slight chance that we fought for the last piece; obviously I won. Here is a picture of the amazing dish:
The Deliciousness that is Crusted Oyster Mushrooms at Millennium Restaurant
Upon returning to LA, I was having recurrent cravings for this dish, and making the trip to San Francisco simply to have these mushrooms was not an option. I decided to try to re-create the dish in the Azarnoush Kitchen. While I was at it I tried to health-ify it a little by baking rather than frying it! The recipe turned out great, although next time I think I would try to incorporate use of the Vegg (New Vegan Egg Yolk Product) in addition to the soymilk in the moist part of the batter.

Recipe for Cornmeal Crusted Oyster Mushrooms (Gluten Free)
- 1 or 2lbs oyster mushrooms
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup unsweetened soymilk (or any other non-dairy milk)
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast (powedered, not flakes)
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika


Gnarly Looking Oystersss

Line a couple of baking sheets with heavy duty tin foil and pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Wash and thoroughly dry all of your oyster mushrooms. You can also remove the stems if you like; I don't do this because they are still part of the mushroom and have great mushroom flavor so why get rid of them? Some people remove the stems for aesthetic purposes. Speaking of aesthetics, check out what oyster mushrooms look like up close! I think they look pretty awesome/gnarly/ a mouth watering way?
3. Using two medium sized bowls, fill one with the wet ingredients (soymilk), and the other with the dry ingredients. Make sure to thoroughly mix the dry ingredients before continuing.
4. Now make somewhat of an assembly line, with the mushrooms on one side, followed by the two bowls, and then the lined baking sheets.
5. Take one head/piece of a mushroom and thoroughly drench it in the soymilk.
The Assembly Line
6. Tap the mushroom on the side of the bowl to ensure that there is no extra moisture (you don't want to get the dry mixture wet with droplets) and then dip the moistened mushroom into the dry coating. Make sure to coat all sides of the mushroom, the dry mixture should stick readily to the mushroom; if it does not, try sprinkling a little bit more soymilk onto your mushroom and rubbing it in. 
7. Lay the coated mushroom on the lined baking sheet and continue this process until all mushrooms are coated.
8. Pop them in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until they are golden and crispy looking. 
**Cooking Tip** If you are baking them on two levels of the oven, you should switch them a little past 6 minutes through since the top ones get more heat than the bottom ones. Keep a close eye on them after the 8 minute mark, they may need more than 10 minutes or be done right at 8 depending on your oven, the amount of coating, and the size of the mushrooms.
Fresh out of the Oven!
9. Now there are two options: The first is to take them out of the oven and let them cool a little before eating (they taste best when still warm but not scorching hot)........and the other option is to be a superhero like me and burn your tongue and fingers trying to eat them immediately.....obviously this is the way all the cool kids do it. 

About to be eaten!

Flavor/Serving tip:
- These taste best when warm
- Although they are great on their own (kinda like vegan calamari fritti?), they also taste fantastic with a dipping sauce. Millennium served them with with some fancy-shmansy one, but I just used spicy ketchup and it was delish!
- These would be great as part of a Vegan Po'Boy Sandwich
I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did! I will definitely post again once I try making this recipe with the Vegg!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Long Run, Short Post!

Hello, hello; and happy Sunday!
Sunday is always the day I run with my Dad and we usually try to go for a longer run. I like to actually run with him on these days, since I don't often get to run with him, so he sets the pace :)

I have to say, for a run that felt like it was pretty much zero effort for me, and was pushing it for my dad, I am pretty happy with our splits. All of the miles were under 10, because you know, the world would explode if we even have one mile over 10 minutes.....
Just kidding, I just have this OCD thing where no matter how slow I'm going, I really can't stand to have a mile that's 10 minutes or more if it's a longer run.

I am so proud of my dad for keeping such a great pace, he really pushed himself for the last couple of miles and we had a great run this morning! We always take a "cooldown" walking lap after our runs, where we just talk about random stuff, and today, that randomness happened to be vegans + B12. So I thought I'd just write about that in this post for all you all with questions on that topic.

Vegans + B12
What is B12?: B12 is a vitamin, one of the B vitamins, that is required for life by humans. It is the only vitamin that actually isn't produced by plants, it is produced only by living organisms like bacteria and archaea. B12 has cobalt as the central metal ion, and serves as a coenzyme in the human body for important metabolic cycles.

What happens if one is B12 deficient?: If you are B12 deficient for a long time, you can develop severe pernicious anemia and elevated blood cholesterol. Sometimes new vegans develop high cholesterol due to a lack of B12 in their diet, since B12 is related to a metabolic pathway that allows for metabolism of molecules that usually result in elevated bad cholesterol.

Typical dietary sources of B12 for non-vegans: Omnivores and lacto-ovo vegetarians usually don't have a problem getting enough B12, due to the presence of bacteria and archaea in the intestines of animals used for food, and their presence in the foods eaten by said food producing animals. Animal meat, dairy products, and eggs are all sources of B12 in the non-vegan diet.

Problem for vegans?: It is interesting but true that B12 is the one nutrient that is a legitimate concern in the vegan diet (unless once is taking a supplement, which I think is the best solution). In my Medical Nutrition Therapy class, my professor actually said that B12 is the one nutrient that she checks for in her vegan patients. Obviously, most sources of naturally occurring B12 are animal products, but there are plenty of ways to get B12 on a vegan diet.

Dietary sources for Vegans: Fortified foods such as fortified soymilks, nutrition drinks, nutrition/sports bars, nutritional yeast (sounds wierd but is actually quite tasty and used in most vegan cheese recipes), and fortified cereals. Foods such as tempeh and kombucha that are made using fermentation by living microorganisms may also be good sources of B12. However, the most guaranteed source of B12 is a B-Complex dietary supplement. Based on my education in nutrition and my personal experience, I think the best bet for any vegan is to take a daily B-complex supplement just to be safe, and make sure to take it with plenty of water since the B vitamins are water soluble!

That's all for now; I've got to run out the door because my Dad, brother, and I are actually going to look at mountain bikes, and hopefully make some purchases!!! Ahhh, so excited!! I pretty much already know which bike I want, so I'll just be waiting for my Dad and bro to make some decisions, which is why I'm bringing along some reading materials! The book is called "Vegan's Daily Companion." You're supposed to read one page a day for a year, but I got it last week and I'm halfway through it.........I know I'm pretty cool...

Also, I've got a recipe post coming later in the day, so check back later! Happy Sunday!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Consistently Inconsistent........and lunch at M Cafe!

Well today turned out to be quite a day indeed! I had some errands to run on Rodeo drive, and conveniently enough I ran said errands around lunch time......which means lunch at one of my favorite veg-friendly restaurants...M Cafe de Chaya!

Well first of all, when I said errands I was really just trying to sound like a cool person with important things to do. I actually just went to return/exchange something at Tiffany & Co, and also obtained a new Micheal Kors watch while I was out in the world. 

Dear Tiffany & Co.,
You have lovely jewelry and you smell nice, but DAMN is your stuff pricey. If it wasn't for the fact that my mom had bought me a really nice necklace that wasn't quite my style, I would never have ventured into your shiny depths. 

There are so many other things that I would rather spend that type of money on; I ended up returning the necklace she got me, and getting TWO other necklaces that were only 1/8 the price of the one she got. Here's the cooler of the two necklaces I got, its a small, delicate seastar with a diamond in the middle. 

I've also been wanting a new watch for awhile. I wanted one a bit manlier/chunkier than my old watch, and definitely NOT with a chain link strap. I leather/faux leather straps, they just have that classic, old person look I love. I ended up buying this beauty, and I am in love. Clearly this manly watch is not too consistent with my taste for delicate jewelry, but what can I say....I'm consistently inconsistent.

The Lowdown: 
M Cafe is a macrobiotic restaurant which basically means they are vegan + they offer a few fish options. Macrobiotic, as far as I know focuses on whole grains, lean proteins, sea vegetables, regular vegetables, and overall whole foods free of eggs, dairy, and meat. However, M Cafe uses the label "Macrobiotic" very loosely, which I am thankful for; they have dishes such as Carolina Style BBQ Seitan Sandwhich and the "Loaded Macro Burger" which are really just veganized comfort foods, as well as more healthy, light options light a Macro Meal or a Bento Box

Where we went:
We dined at the Beverly Hills Location, but there is also the original location in West Hollywood on Melrose. I actually like the West Hollywood location better because they have daily and weekly specials, and a sunnier atmosphere, but some M Cafe is better than no M Cafe. The Beverly Hills location is still nice, and the food is just as great, they just never have daily or weekly specials. 

What we got:

The M Chopped Salad, which has a whole bunch of Stuff. Here is their menu description: "hearts of romaine & mixed greens, avocado, cucumber, chickpeas, herb-baked tofu, scallions, umeboshi pickled radishes, carrots, beets, tamari-roasted almonds, crumbled tempeh“bacon” & tofu-peppercorn ranch dressing." I subbed extra garbanzos for the avocado.....and had myself a salad party! I've had this salad before, and I loved it just as much as the previous times! The Tempeh bacon and tofu-peppercorn ranch dressing are definitely the superstars of this salad.

This is the Spring Seaweed Salad. We got it as a side and it was YUM! I don't know what it is, but I LOVE seaweed.....maybe in another life I was a mermaid......or more likely a measly piece of plankton; either way, I love me some sea veggies. This salad was great because it also had chopped up green apples, celery, and a whole bunch of other yummy stuff, and a great dressing!

My mom got the "Loaded" Macro Burger, it kinda reminded me of a super-healthy big the best way possible? It was their Macro Burger topped with "Cheese," Tempeh Bacon, and a Secret Sauce. She really like it, and it looked fantastic, so I can only assume it's great........but not as great as my M Chopped! (I kid........not really though). This picture is only half of the burger; all of their sandwiches also come with a side-salad, and my mom got their famous peanut-kale salad. I have had this side salad many times before, and it is a MUST if you have never had it. I convinced my mom to get it just so I could steal some from her, she was obviously thrilled.

Oh and I almost forgot! I ordered a "Detox" juice. It  had kale, wheatgrass, parsley, cucumbers, ginger, and lemon. I have had this before, and I love it. Not only do I like the taste, but it truly does make me feel rejuvenated and cleaner after drinking it, but be forewarned, it definitely has some grassy undertones. Okay who am I kidding, it has some grassy overtones, with hints of ginger, lemon, and  parsley. I have always loved wheatgrass shots, and when I was a youngin' I actually made a goal to eat every single plant in our backyard, which I acutally accomplished, so I think I am biased in my favorable description of this drink. My mom tried it though, and she was never a huge backyard experimental eater like myself, and liked it as I guess that says something?

The lesson of the day is two-fold: M Cafe Rocks....and I should give up my daytime job and take up experimental backyard eating, it's hard job.....but someone has to do it (don't get the joke? Re-read my Detox juice description).
......not really I guess......