Thursday, October 8, 2015

Winner Winner Jackfruit Dinner! CONTEST!

I'm proud to disclose Brian is my age inappropriate Vegan Crush (R). 
Being the internet tool that I am, I've been loving on Periscope lately. It's an app you use on your phone, tablet or whatevs to watch and interact with other people in real time. 

If you're really into peepin' into other people's living rooms you'll love it. There are all sorts of things to watch, like pageant girls showing off their gowns, or 20 somethings getting ready for bed and applying face masks, or guys laying in bed with their wives chatting with you while you look at their bedroom wall. It's an internet miracle. 

Free Beyond Meat coupons. Good in tacos.
But! Some folks are using it for really cool stuff. My favorite broadcaster is Brian Patton from The Sexy Vegan Radidio (you can listen to me talk about Teff Love on his podcast here).

For the last many weeks, Brian AKA The Sexy Vegan, has been running a vegan trivia gameshow on Thursdays at 7:45PM PST called Flex Your Foodie, where he's been giving away lots of prizes! I'm a FIVE TIME WINNER! I realllllllly like the show. If you wanna get in on the action, just download the app, and follow The Sexy Vegan. Be sure to set your notifications to alert you when he goes live, so you don't forget like I did for two weeks in a row.

The cutest packaging of all time. On sandwiches! Salads! Tacos! Even over rice.
I know you wanna know what I've won so far:
1. A Beyond Meat tee-shirt and lots of coupons for free Beyond Meat products.
2. All the Go Max Go chocolate bars (that was a fun week).
3. Dandies PUMPKIN marshmallows!
4. And boxes and boxes of Upton Natural's brand-new Jackfruit Carnitas and BBQ.

In fact, I've won Upton's twice now, on two separate oaccasions. 
Once for me and once for you!!! 
If you live in the U.S. and you wanna try some for yourself, leave me a comment below and tell me something I don't know. Or make me feel good about something. Your pick.

Brian needs to let Upton's know who the winner is by this coming Monday, so I'm giving you jokers until midnight PST on Sunday October 11th to comment below. I'll pick my favorite comment, and Upton's will send you my prizes, which I believe are a box of each flavor.

Shelf stable bar-b-que, for when your inlaws pop in unexpectantly.
Or for your earthquake preparedness box of worry.
I don't think I have any disclosures to share. I won some prizes from Brian via Upton's Naturals, and I'm offering them to one winner here. Nothing shady going on, just the funz.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mac 'n' Squeeze Me.

Mac 'n' Squeeze. Hopefully,  it'll get you some hugs.
I had some steamed acorn squash lefties in the fridge the other day and turned 'em into a really fast cheezy sauce that hit the spot tossed into a bowl of warm pasta elbows. I didn't even heat up the sauce, it went straight from the blender into the bowl of hot pasta.

Squeeze Me Sauce zoomed on top of brown rice, pintos, romaine and 'kraut.
Since I made the sauce on the run the other day, I hadn't bothered to write down how much of what I put into the sauce. I wanted more today, so I reenacted the scene again, but with a trusty pen and the back of an old medical bill.

Squeeze Me Sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

A coupla things to note about this sauce:

  • I used a high speed blender, if you don't, be sure to soak the cashews beforehand so it'll be easy for you to get the squeeze sauce smooth. 
  • If you don't want to use pickled jalapenos, be sure to add a little acid like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead.
  • This sauce will work with whatever steamed or baked squash lefties you have around, but keep in mind that acorn squash isn't super sweet. If you use something like butternut or kabocha, you'll probably have to tweak the spices a bit to get the balance right.

What You Need:
1/2 cup Acorn Squash puree (mine was steamed, baked will be fine too)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup raw cashew pieces
1/2 red bell pepper (I used 2 small peppers about the size of a medium jalapeno)
5 slices pickled jalapeno (to taste)
2 teaspoons white miso
1 teaspoon onion granules
1 clove garlic
pinch salt

What You Do:
Place everything into the the jar of a blender and whiz until smooth. Eat with hot pasta or zoom over your favorite bowl.

Also, if you're not following me on Instagram, you're missing out on the hashtag gold.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dottie's Spaghetti Squash Nation

Chartreuse is one of my favorite colors. It's so pretty with the kidneys and hydrangeas!
Eat with toasted corn tortillas and avocado. Mmmmrrrzz.
Spaghetti squash always sound appealing so I buy them and they languish on my counter until they're almost dead. Then I fix them in really boring ways out of desperation. The spaghetti squash cycle of life at Team Bernskerns is sad business.

And still I buy them. You know why right? Scraping baked squash out of their shells and into those magickal spaghetti shreds is fun and worth repeating over and over again. So the other day, I got the idea to put the spaghetti squash looming on my counter into my favorite rice and bean salad instead of the rice. Oh boy--eureka good!

This salad is really tasty on its own (especially after a day or two in the fridge), but I found I really loved it in super simple tacos. Toast some corn tortillas over a gas flame on the stove and then smoosh with salted avocado and a few big forkfuls of this salad. If you're not into the EFA oil listed in the ingredients, then just use all EVOO.
Dottie's Spaghetti Squash Nation 
Makes about 8-10 cups--a biiiiig bowlful or a good amount to bring to a potluck.
Dress the salad judiciously, 'cuz squash sizes vary, and the sauce is schpicy!

What You Need:
1 medium spaghetti squash, baked until tender
1 can pinto beans, 15oz
1 can red kidney beans, 15 oz
2-3 green onions, minced (white and green)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley for haters)
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced

2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons Seven Sources or Udos Oil (or more EVOO)
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
pickled jalapeno--to taste (I used several slices)
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

What You Do:
1. In a large bowl, combine the warm shredded spaghetti squash, beans, green onions, cilantro, and red pepper.
2. In a blender, whiz together the remaining ingredients to make a dressing.
3. Dress the rice (you might only want to use 3/4 of the dressing) and EAT!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Recipe! Spicy Celery Ranch!

Spicy Celery Ranch looking beeyootiful in some vintage Orchardware. (I grew the dill!)
Today I present to you a recipe for a spicy celery ranch dressing/sauce I've been making in one form or another for a few months now. It's pretty great, and it riffs very well, so feel free to play around with it. I think the miso really makes it pop, but if you don't have any I suppose a little bit of nooch might help round it out.

I've only ever made it in my high speed blender, so if you don't have or use one, be sure to soak the 'shews and mince up your garlic and celery so you're able to get this smooth--texture is everything.

I like this best with fresh dill, but dry works really well too, as do other herbs like cilantro, parsley, green onion, and fresh basil. 

Living on some kale chips in a little Glasbake chili bowl.
I even use this as a sauce to make dehydrated kale chips! Just reduce the water a bit and add in about 2-4 tablespoons of nooch as you see fit. I also love adding shredded carrot to mine, which I wouldn't use if you're planning to try baking these.

Besides chips, this stuff is super-yum zapped on top of bowls, and of course on salad. I've also used it for Baked Buffalo Cauliflower dunking purposes. I'm tempted to add celery seed for next time, 'cuz celery sorta wins in my mouth these days--especially with extra spicy stuff.

Atomic cashews.
Cashew based dressing like this one, thicken a bit in the fridge. When I make this I usually add the water judiciously, until I reach the desired thickness for whatever I'm making.

Spicy Celery Ranch
Makes 1/2 cup (plus a smidge)

This dressing is great on salads and bowls, and if you add a bit less water and some nooch it makes killer kale chips. I use a high speed blender, so if you don't, be sure to soak your 'shews and mince the veggies. 

What You Need:
1/3 cup unroasted cashews
1 heaping teaspoon white miso
1 teaspoon onion granules
1 clove garlic
Juice from 1/2 lemon
4 slices pickled jalapeno
1 6-7" celery stalk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
A tablespoon or so of fresh herb (see my comments above--dill, parsley, basil, cilantro, green onion, etc.)
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired

What You Do:
1. Put everything but the fresh herb into a blender and process until smooth.
2. Add the water judiciously, until you get the desiredness thickness.
3. Pulse in the herbs, or mince by hand and stir them in.
4. Season to taste with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper, if desired.



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Abundance Diet and My Couch. And Snacks!

Somer's beautiful book--The Abundance Diet. 
I'm really proud of you and your hard work, Somer!
Splashy dashy beautiful photos, by Annie at the Unrefined Vegan.
I'm not sure what my deal has been this summer. Maybe it's been the record heat, my arthritic woes, or just my regular bad attitude, but I've been super unmotivated to do much of anything besides whine and bounce around from couch to couch like a big blah-blah ball. Cooking has been mostly a bad word--I've been eating a LOT of peanut butter. 

But. When your super-amazing friend comes out with her very first cookbook, which just happens to be vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and simply gorgeous, you pull yourself up by your vegan-straps and make stuff. Even if it takes you weeks longer than you meant too, and even if you stick to ALL THE SNACKS. Remember: snacks have feelings too.

Happiness in a Cookie Bite. I Believe in the power of balls!
This is an awesome recipe, because you can use 
whatever sort of nut butter and add-ins you have around.
Happiness in a Cookie Bites are real. They're also rilllly easy to make, and super pantry friendly so if necessary, you can get happy very quickly! I added dried blueberries to mine, with cashew butter I got on closeout. Just like Somer suggests, I added an extra pinch of cinnamon, since mine were chocolate-free. Which is why I'm not sure why mine tasted just like chocolate chip cookies? In the best sort of way. Also I ate all four servings in a few hours, minus one for Dazee, and one I saved for breakfast the following day. All the happy for meeeeeee. 

These would be just GRAND with chocolate chips and peanut butter. Which is my plan for next time--with homemade raw chocolate chunks since these balls hang out in the fridge and the chill will keep the chocolate from melting, and me from crying (I'm avoiding store chips because of the flippin' sugar).

ChocoNana Green Smoothie.
All the good stuff: cacao, bananas, spinach, stevia.
I may have added a little organic peanut butter powder, too.
Then just this afternoon, I was texting with Somer and complaining about my couch status, and she suggested chocolate. So-smart! I went into the kitchen and manifested this delicious green smoothie, because hoozah! The pantry friendlieness can't be beat. So yummy, filling and hydrating. I made half, because all of Somer's smoothies make a full quart. Obviously, I'm not in need of unbridled delirium, just a little pick me up.

Nacho Cheese Kale Chips! I sprinkled some with hemp hearts for extra lovin'.
Fancy mani by moi: Mineral Fusion is great 5-free nail polish.
Kale chips go well with couch-time, so I've been eating lots. You know how when you scroll through a new cookbook, certain recipes just pop out at you? This was actually the first recipe I made from Somer's book--it poked me in the eye as I was flipping through it the first time. When I blended up the nacho sauce, the flavor sorta made me go goo-goo, so I actually made this recipe twice in quick succession. I dehydrated my chips, but if you don't have a dehydrator, Somer gives detailed instructions on baking these in the oven. 

Nacho sauce all up in this taco salad.
Pro Tip 1: Add pickled jalapenos before you blend.
Pro Tip 2: 
 For the fancy effect, save mustard squirt bottles and zoom sauce all over the top.
The kale chip nacho sauce will also serve your bowls well. Or your nachos. Or your taco salad. Because even if you have a lazy summer attitude, people still have birthday parties and potluck performance is key. I'm not a huge fan of Beyond Meat chicken strips, but I really like the Feisty Crumbles. I added a packet of taco seasoning to some with a little sauteed onion, then added taco salad-y things like chips, romaine, jicama strips, peppers, cucumber, beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and lots of nacho sauce zaps.

I call this wung salad with Somer's Pad Thai Sauce.
My salad dressing repertoire always needs a bit of work, so I was happy to see so many sauces and dressings in Somer's book. Salad idea fodder is always a great thing. This Pad Thai sauce is super easy to whip up (I cheated on the date paste, and just added a pitted date with a little water). And for a case of the lazies like me, you can use whatever you have in the fridge. Mine was romaine, jicama, cucumber, carrots, with basil, roasted peanuts, and zaps of Somer's zippy-creamy-gingery pad thai sauce on top (see pro tip 2 above). I fed this to Dazee, who ate it happily. Very great, and undoubtedly even better made properly with broccoli.

BBQ Roasted Chickpea Snack, or as we like to say ,"wee Somer-balls."
Somer and her publisher are letting me share her roasted BBQ chickpea recipe. I loved these too, because I'm all about the smoky and these chix had both liquid smoke and smoked paprika. Plus I added smoked salt on top, because c'mon! Pro tip 3: mine almost scorched at the shortest cooking time at 450, so next time I'm-ma cook these a bit longer at a little lower temp. Too bad I ate these all for lunch, 'cuz they'd make tasty salad accoutrement. Apparently, the wasabi chix are very good too, since my friend Jackie keeps making them and texting me about her Somer-Yums.
BBQ Roasted Chickpea Snack
Makes 4 Servings

Recipe from The Abundance Diet, (c)2015 by Somer McCowan.
Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press LLC.

1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, drained, well rinsed and then blotted dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Preheat the oven to 450F. In a medium bowl, stir together the liquid smoke, sesame oil, black pepper, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, sherry, tamari, onion powder, and garlic powder. This is your marinade. Add the chickpeas to the marinade and stir to coat.

Transfer the chickpeas and marinade into an 8x8-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper. Bake the chickpeas for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. The chickpeas will get crispier as they cool. Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator. these are even better, if possible, on the second day.

My only regret with The Abundance Diet--I wasn't able to pull myself together enough to make Somer's infamous Moxarella AKA Foxy Moxy. Not because the recipe is difficult to make, but because what to put the cheese on I can easily whip out of my armpit? For sure, it'll be the first thing I make as soon as the weather makes me want to be cozy, because PIZZA BAGELS!

So there you have it friends. Somer's The Abundance Diet offers many yummy, indulgent tasting goodies to be had, even for a non-dieting lady like myself. Go get yourself a copy, and while you're at it, don't forget to make some cheesie balls from Somer's blog Vedged Out.


P.S. Happy Vegan MoFo! It starts today and runs all September. ♥

Disclaimer:  Somer McCowan is my friend (in real life even!), and I received a free review copy of The Abundance Diet from Vegan Heritage Press. However, no compensation or gift was exchanged for this review, and the fierce opinion posted here is my own.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Chipotle Soy Curl Salad Days

So much protein, it hurts the eyes to behold.
It's a hot, lazy day today, and I can't be bothered to get myself to the grocery store. I also couldn't be buggered to do anything with this salad besides gulp it down, but it'd be great in corn tortillas, scooped on top of a green salad, or shoved into a Salad Roll Whopper.
Soy Curl Chipotle Salad
If you don't have Soy Curls, this would work with steamed tempeh, Beyond Meat chicken strips and even cubed seitan. I was out of apples today, but if I'd had one I'd've added one.

Makes about 3 cups.

What You Need:
3 oz/86g Soy Curls
Boiling water
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/3 cup diced sweet red pepper
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1-2 green onions
1 medium crisp-tart apple (optional).

1/4-1/3 cup vegan mayo (I use vegenaise)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
a small clove of garlic, minced or pressed
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

What You Do:
1. Put the Soy Curls in a large bowl and cover with boiling water for about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and press out as much water as possible. You should get about 2 cups (if you're using a protein besides Soy Curls use 2 cups).
2. Return the squeezed Soy Curls to the bowl and add the celery, red pepper, parsley, onions and apple (if using).
3. In a small bowl, combine the mayo, vinegar, salt, chipotle, paprika and garlic. Stir to combine.
4. Add the dressing to the bowl of Curls and toss to combine well. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

I Went Away! Now I'm Back Eatin' Buffaloed Cauliflower.

I know you must have missed me very much.
Hi! I had a wonderful time visiting my friends and family in DC, but now I'm very glad to be home in huggable-bluggable Portland, OR, stuffing myself silly with buffaloed cauliflower.

These cauli-dudes are really yummy to eat as long as it's not hot outside. If it's too hot, these are still delicious, but probably not worth the pain and suffering turning on your oven might cause--although they might be worth it. My advice is to sneak into the kitchen and bake them at night and then hide all traces of wrongdoing.

Cold lefties are really great stuffed into Salad Roll Whoppers. You can see evidence of this on Instagram. And if you run over to Periscope (you need a smart phone to watch), I actually made a live video preparing them for my lunch today (Hurry! The video link will only work for a short period of time).

Before I get to the recipe, I'm having trouble reaching the two winners of Annie's latest book and e-book! If Jacky DLT and Kittens Gone Lentil are reading this you won! If I don't hear from you by Sunday, I'm picking new winners! I dunnoooo how to contact you.
Baked Buffaloed Cauliflower
Makes a big plateful--depending on the size of your cauliflower.

These are crispy out of the oven and really good, and even better if you dunk them into a cashew ranch dressing (with lots of garlic and dill).

What You Need:
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons nooch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
1 teaspoon onion granules
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup soymilk
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/3 cup Frank's hot sauce
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or EVOO
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 425 F. and line a baking sheet with parchment. Then give it a good spray with cooking oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sorghum, potato starch, nooch, baking powder, garlic, onion, curry and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the soymilk and whisk until a smooth batter is formed. Add the cauliflower and toss with your hands until each piece is covered in batter. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on the prepared sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip and bake for 8 minutes more. While the cauliflower is baking, prepare the Buffalo Sauce.

In a small bowl, combine the Frank's, coconut oil, and parsley. Carefully remove the hot baking sheet out of the oven and toss the cauliflower in the Buffalo sauce until completely coated. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper as desired. Return to the oven and bake 4 more minutes (24 minutes total).

Serve hot with a ranch dressing or let cool and stuff into Salad Roll Whoppers!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Crave Eat Heal--Book Tour Stop and Giveaway!

I've been quiet lately, because I'm currently visiting my family in the DC area experiencing what I've been referring to as my "Mid-life Kid-life." I pretty much have no cares to give, other than taking care of sweet ol' Vee-Bee and trying to get through four seasons of Battlestar Galactica with my mom, before it's time to head back to PDX. It's basically been a kombucha-a-day blitz for the last month.

I'm breaking my ZZzzZ-run to share some sneak peaks from Annie Oliverio's upcoming cookbook Crave Eat Heal: Plant-Based, Whole Food Recipes To Satisfy Every Appetite and to offer two giveaways, which will hopefully satisfy readers the world over. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for the freebie info).

Annie's beautiful vegan cookbook is currently available for pre-order, 
but for get-it-in-your-hands availablily, you'll have to wait until after May 4th.
Even though I've mostly been a kitchen sloth for the last few weeks, I did manage to pull myself together enough to try a couple of recipes from Crave Eat Heal.

Peanut sauce hoison-ified with homemade from CEH, plus salad rolls for my Mama.
Smoked tofu, cukes, bell peppers, ginger-beet kraut, avocado, herbs, and arugula tossed in rice vinegar.
The layout of Annie's book is unique in that each chapter represents a common food craving and is filled with healthy recipes designed to satisfy and smash each craving to the ground. I love that her recipes are made with no refined sugars, and the majority are also xgfx. 

Y'all know I'm a self proclaimed salad roll junkie, which means I need a steady supply of dipping sauces. Peanut sauce is a favorite, and my method of choice includes adding a bit of hoisin to peanut butter that's been thinned with water, and seasoned with garlic-chile paste and tamari. So easy, but annoyingly, most hoisin has wheat added as a thickener, and xgfx hoisin is a pain to find. So, ya know I was delighted to see CEH has a recipe for homemade hoisin (from the Spicy chapter) sweetened with maple syrup. I rolled up some salad rolls to test-drive the sauce, and it was great. I also love that Annie's hoisin is quick to make, and doesn't yield a lot, so you can just whip it up as needed to fulfill your daily Salad Roll Whopper needs.

I also made the Blueberry Chocolate Anti-Inflammatory Shake (from the Chocolate chapter), since I'm an inflammation making lady-machine. My entire medical team would give this recipe a happy clap, since it's full of the good stuff. And, my banana hater of a naturopath would be glad to know it's thickened with avocado.
Hey-hey, here's a recipe from CEH I haven't made yet, but it's high on my list, since I actually adore the flavor of spirulina. I think these might become part of our road trip snack bounty when we head west.

Lemon-Coconut Spirulina Balls
Makes 20

Normally one should run screaming from food that is this green - but these bite-sized treats won’t hurt you! Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is rich in iron, chlorophyll, beta carotene, and other nutrients.  If you are put off by the slight seaweed smell and taste of spirulina, just omit it - but the lemon and coconut really do mask the flavor.

What You Need:
1 cup raw pecan pieces
1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup unsweetened raw coconut flakes
2 tablespooons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon spirulina

What You Do:
Put the pecans and dates into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until broken down into small pieces.  Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.  You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.  The mixture will form a ball.

Scrape the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or two.  Using a small spoon, scoop up about 1 heaping teaspoon of the mixture and roll into a ball.  Place in an air-tight container.  Continue with the rest of the mixture and store the balls in the refrigerator.
Total time: 2 hours, including chilling time

If you don’t have spirulina, you could use a green protein powder (which often contain spirulina), or just make the balls without it.

Recipe used with permission from Annie Oliverio and Front Table Books.

My purple anti-inflammation smoothie trying to solve the world's problems. 
So pretty!
Now for the giveaways! 
1. Annie is offering one free copy of Crave Eat Heal to a reader in the US or Canada. All you have to do is leave a comment and lemme know that's you. As soon as the book is available in print, you'll get a copy to your door.

2. For readers outside the US or Canada, (that's all you Whovillians), Annie is offering a free copy of her e-book Crave Eat Heal Outtakes. Just leave a comment letting me know of your wordly ways.

I'll choose two readers (one of each variety) at random on May 1st! Please be sure to comment before midnight EST.


P.S. The link to Annie's Crave Eat Heal is an affililiate link on Amazon, where I make a teeny sum of moolah.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Peanut Butter Yummery Bars.

Crispy-puffy rice, coconut, chickpea crunchy noodles, raisins, spices, peanut butter-yummery.
Rheumatologist approved.
These peanut butter crunchy bars aren't for everyone. For instance, Dazee does not like them. So, if you plot carefully with the right target in mind, you can make these under the guise of sharing, and then get to eat them up all by yourself. Winnery for you!

I've never had bars like this before, but for some reason I started craving them madly this week. They're not hard to imagine, really. Especially if you're a big fan of spicy Indian snacks like I am.

The trick to these is to find a spicy snack mix you like and to use that. For these, I used some hot fried chickpea flour noodles, but you could easily add Bhuja, if you have some. Or something similar from the Indian market. The key is to make sure there's some heat to counter the sweet, and maybe some fennel. And, don't leave out the curry leaves! MMMmmmm.

Peanut Butter Yummery Bars. 
about 16 bars (fills an 8" square brownie pan)

What You Need:
4 cups rice crispy type cereal 
handful of curry leaves (12-16)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons canola or melted coconut oil
pinch salt

2 cups Indian chickpea flour sticks, or Indian snack mix 
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon cacao nibs

3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup brown rice syrup

What You Do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil an 8" square baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the rice cereal, curry leaves, coconut, and turmeric. Drizzle on the oil and salt and stir until well combined. Spread the cereal onto the baking sheet and bake, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning, until the coconut is golden brown and the curry leaves are brittle, about 12 minutes.

3. While the rice is toasting in the oven, put the chickpea sticks, raisins, peanuts, and cacao nibs into the large bowl. Add the toasted rice mixture and combine well.

4. In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter, coconut sugar, agave nectar and brown rice syrup. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture just begins to bubble.

5. Immediately pour the peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture and stir well until the cereal is completely coated in the sticky peanut butter sauce. It's best to work fast, as the peanut butter sauce will quickly stiffen as it cools.

6. Press the mixture firmly into the baking pan and cool to room temperature. Score the bars and refrigerate.

7. Share with no one.

I like the combination of low glycemic sugars in these bars, and found them perfectly sweet. But the bars are very user-friendly, so feel free to switch them up if you prefer more spices, and/or other sugars and nut butters. I think they'll still be lovely.

The Teff Lurve virtual door will be at Dianne's Vegan Kitchen on the 24th!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Somer-Ball Lovin', Happened So Fast.

"Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!
Tell me more, tell me more was it love at first sight?"
I've completely fallen for Somer's balls, even more than when I first posted about them. In case you missed them bouncing around the ol' web, Somer's original cheese ball recipe is here on her wonderful blog Vedged Out.

Because I can never leave well enough alone, I decided to culture them. Lo'! These balls of hers have been elevated from kick ace good, to a new kind of wonderful that in my ever so very humble opinion has got some full-blown ass going on too! I mean sass. I mean, yea-um.

With raw sunflower seeds and Mineral Fusion nail polish.
Besides culturing the cheese, I made a few mods to the ingredients because I knew 1.) once the cheese was cultured it would have a natural tang to it, and would no longer need the acid or alchol in the original recipe. And 2.) I added berbere, because HELLO!! Have you met me before?

So anyway, I'm not gonna reprint Somer's recipe here, because I know how to play nicely with friends, and she deserves all the crazy cheese traffic. Vegan cheese ain't no game.

I followed her recipe, but made the following changes:
  1. I soaked the cashews in a quinoa rejuvelac overnight. Then drained the 'shews reserving the liquid.
  2. I left out the dry sherry, apple cider vinegar, mustard powder, and cayenne.
  3. I added ground imported Ethiopian berbere to taste ('twas about a teaspoon)--berbere is salty, so it's also a good idea to reduce the salt a bit. Again, employ your tongue and taste it!
  4. I added 2 tablespoons of the drained cashew soaking liquid, if you have it, you can also add about 1/2 teaspoon of probiotic powder (like acidophilus). I've made it both ways, with no big differences.
  5. Before adding the coconut oil, I scraped the soft mixture into a bowl, covered it with a plate and left it on top of my fridge for 2 days. The temps around here were in the high 40s-low 50s. In hot weather, it will culture faster, so check it a few times a day to get it where you like it in the tang department.
  6. Once the cheese was tang-iful, I scraped the mixture back into my food processor and added the coconut oil. Then I proceeded with Somer's instructions.
Culture with care folks! This cheese should not get moldy or funky in any way while culturing.
With parsley
This cheese is so delightful and has such good texture and flavor-flav. For a party, you could easily get two decent sized balls from the recipe, or three small ones. I made one with chopped jalapeno mixed into the cheese, and I'm thinking pimiento stuffed green olives will be next.

With the cutest dog on earth, and a rice cracker. His whiskers kill.
Speaking of berbere. The Teff Lurve blog tour is in full effect. One of my hard working testers has a stop on her blog Windy City Vegan today, along with a recipe for Quick Teff Crepes. Please go check it out, and then join Team Kittee and buy a book! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Somer-balls make great stress balls for the mind and body.
Oh hey! You can also listen to me talk to Caryn Hartglass on REAL radio here!
See ya!

P.S. The link to my book is an affililiate link on Amazon, where I make a teeny sum of moolah.