Category Archives: Our Stories

Our First Contest/Giveaway! Yumuniverse

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I don’t think I would have survived transitioning into this amazing vegan lifestyle had it not been for all the unbelievably supportive, informative and engaging websites available for meat-free eaters. Most of my internet time is now devoted to sharing vegan stories, searching vegan recipes or communicating with other fellow vegans. And one thing if for sure-I have NEVER met so many awesome, friendly, compassionate people in my life, let alone, through web-based interactions. The amount of support has been overwhelming and I’m going to assume other vegetarians, vegans and raw foodies have the same experience when they set forth into this eating endeavor.

I’ve thrived on the generosity and curiosity of other vegans and not long ago, was lucky enough to have won a recipe contest for one of my favorite sites, Yumuniverse. This opened a whole new wave of followers and connections for this little blog, and now, I am SO pleased to announce that they’re sponsoring an awesome contest through The Vegan Pact-one you definitely want to win!

Yumuniverse is a haven for all types of specialty diets-vegan, gluten-free, raw-you name it and they’ve got you covered. I’m thrilled that they’re offering meal subscriptions AND a lifetime membership offer which includes TONS of awesome vegan goodies, super-informative reading materials and exclusive recipes found on on YU.

WHAT YOU WIN

“30 Dinners”-An interactive, beautiful guide full of recipes, herbie tips and vegan info. I’ve had a sneak preview and it’s not to be missed!

Sign up for their membership or other offers here, even if you don’t win through us.

THE RULES

1. Social media is key these days, so first and foremost, you should be connected to both The Vegan Pact and Yumuniverse on Facebook and Twitter. If you already are that’s great, and if you’re not, well now you’re about to make some pretty cool new vegan friends 🙂

Yumuniverse: Facebook AND Twitter

The Vegan Pact: Facebook AND Twitter

2. Leave a comment on this post, telling us what your favorite Vegan Pact recipe is and why!

The contest ends August, 19th, so make sure to leave your comment by then.

And that’s it…Happy posting!

Regrowing Veggies

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So while our outdoor garden blooms (round of applause for quick-growing kale that’s already on the brink of pickin!), we have had quite a bit of lucky re-growing some of our favorite veggies indoors, too. A bit of research led me to the realization that planting and growing produce doesn;t have to be as tricky or time-consuming as starting everything from seed. When it comes to garlic, various onions, bok choy, celery and even potatoes, a simple snip of the original vegetable roots will produce great results. All it takes it water, end trimmings of vegetables and some patience!

We’ve currently got green onions and celery growing indoors (green onions on the windowsill, celery under a grow lamp) and they are doing extremely well. Follow these simple steps for DIY produce.

CELERY

  • Take a bunch of celery and chop off the bottom 3-4 inches, that you wouldn’t normally eat (make sure to keep the whole chunk intact)
  • Place the stump in a bowl and cover with cold water, leaving an inch or so of water over the top
  • Place in a window sill and let soak for a week or two
  • Once you see some leaves sprouting up out of the center, plant directly into the ground OR in a large growing bucket
  • You’re done! Ours is still growing after a month, I assume it will be done after 3 months or so
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GREEN ONIONS

  • Cut the white parts off of the bottom of a bunch of green onions
  • Tie together with a rubber band
  • Stick into a mason jar, so that the tops of the onions are almost sticking out and fill the jar half way to the top with water
  • Leave in a windowsill and let grow for 10-14 days once they are fully regrown

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BIG NEWS! Vegetarian Times & Thrive Foods

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This has been a HUGE week for us and we have our blog readers to thank for it!

Not only did we win Yumuniverse’s Kale Recipe Contest, but we also became Tasterie’s “Taster of the Week!”. Our Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad took the grand prize in the recipe contest and the prize is AWESOME prepared  ornagic, vegan meals delievered right to your door, by Thrive Foods Direct. Breakfast, lucnh and dinner for the entire week was sent to me, and I am very happy to have a week-long break from cooking! We reecieved chia pudding, oatmeal, granola, salads, lasagna, falafels and so much more.  Tasterie is sending us some vegan snacks, so we’ll let you know how they are when we get them.

And the BIG, BIG news is that our Eggplant & Polenta Sandwiches will be featured in the July issue of Vegetarians Times! This is quite possibly the best news I’ve ever got and I am beyond happy and proud to be making it into the pages of Veg Times. So make sure to go out and pick up an issue when it comes out. And thanks to all of you who keep reading and continually inspire us!

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Just a few of our meals from Thrive Foods Direct!

Trying to Please Non-Vegans on Easter: Homemade Peanut Butter and Cashew Cups

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Holiday food pleasing usually isn’t too hard with my mom’s side of the family, like my aunts and grandmother, who are always willing to try new things.

Not so easy to please are my junk food loving brothers.

As we colored Easter eggs this past weekend, they binged on hamburgers, milk fat filled breads and my LEAST favorite, hot dogs. My mission was clear- serve food that even they would AT LEAST try. My youngest brother’s favorite candy of all time is Reese’s peanut butter cups. I’m not a huge fan and I don’t deal with chocolate much, but when I saw this recipe on Oh She Glows for these Mini Homemade Peanut Butter Cups, I knew these would have the best chance of satisfying my brothers. I changed the ingredients a bit and omitted the tofu of course, in which cashews were an easy substitute. Plus, the teeny mason jars I got to buy for them are uber cute and I can’t wait to make other adorable snacks with them.

POST-EASTER…The cups were a huge hit (Jim ate 5 before noon), EXCEPT with the brother I was trying to impress in the first place! I feel vindicated though, because my middle brother’s fiancée (who has their eating habits), really loved them.

*This makes 10 cups, so make sure to have enough jars, or cut the recipe in half

FOR THE CRUST

1 cup crushed graham crackers (about 10 full crackers)

1/3 cup cocoa powder

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp vanilla

FOR THE FILLING

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 1 hour (not necessary, but makes them creamier if they’re moist)

3/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp almond milk

1/4 tsp sea salt

FOR THE SHELL

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

1 tsp coconut oil

  • In a food processor, pulse together all crust ingredients
  • Using about 1 1/2 tbsp per jar, press into the bottom
  • Rinse processor, then pulse together all filling ingredients
  • Pour 2-3 tbsp of filling into jar, ontop of the crust
  • Melt chocolate and coconut oil together over medium.high heat and immediately drizzle over filling layer
  • Let sit in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving (they’re best served chilled!)

 

(Layer 1: Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust)

(Layer 2: Peanut Butter Cashew Filling)

(Mom doing layer 3 since I suck and can’t melt chocolate)

ALL DONE!

(Jim on cup number 4…)

(everyone coloring eggs…youngest & hardest brother to please, TJ, on the far left)

(Bella & Jim coloring eggs)

My Writing Roots & Contest-Worthy Recipes

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I wanted to take some time to do some non-recipe related blogging. Since writing was my first love before cooking, I’ve been trying more and more to incorporate the two together, and I’ve been using health websites, recipe and essay contests and a friend’s herbal business to put pen to paper as much as possible (yes, I like to write the old-school way first!).

I absolutely love blending writing with my passions for cooking and health, so here’s a run down of some of our more notable appearances on some of our favorite websites! So click the links, follow the websites, find them on Twitter, friend them on Facebook and connect with some of the best 🙂

Kale Recipe Contest on Yumuniverse! Vote for us here 

Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad

3rd Place winner of Slow Food USA’s recipe contest AND currently being taste tested for Vegetarian Times!

Eggplant & Polenta Sandwiches

Numerous herbal/health articles for Alternatives, an awesome website for herbal medicine and supplements

Some of my personal favorites- “10 Food Rules Everyone Should Live By” and “4 Things to Look for When Buying a Yoga Mat” on MindBodyGreen

A worthwhile essay contest for Our Hen House, about “Why It’s Unethical to Eat Meat

That’s all for now-happy reading!

San Diego Avocado & Sprout Sandwich

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I must say, as much as I LOVE cooking, it was so great to go on vacation and do nothing but get take out and eat in restaurants.  It was tough to stay completely vegan, but I didn’t beat myself up about consuming a small amount of cheese while we journeyed across Vegas and California last week.

Of all the reasons I’m now hellbent on relocating from the east coast to the west, the array of vegetarian and vegan options in San Diego is at the top of my list.  Delicious Mexican cuisine and lighter sandwiches and wraps are readily accessible almost everywhere in CA-even vegan fast food! I was in heaven and it was such a relief to not have to worry about strolling into a restaurant and wondering if they offered anything I could eat. Tons of places even had fresh organic juice, which made Jim extremely happy.

I bought one particular sandwich on numerous occasions and the simplicity of it was absolutely ridiculous and completely satisfying.  At Board & Brew and Jyoti-Bihanga (don’t ask me how to pronounce it) I ate this avocado and bean sprout sandwich, that was essentially just sliced veggies, avocado, sprouts, cheese and tahini spread. It’s ALL I wanted to make when we got back, and when I finally did, I found that it was super easy to make and was just as yummy using Daiya cheese.

Great food, awesome vacation. Their cuisine is worth flying across the country for. Or relocating for…

FOR THE SANDWICH

2 slices wheat or pumpernickel bread

1/2 on avocado, sliced

4 slices of tomato

6 slices of cucumber

1/4 cup sunflower or bean sprouts

1 slice cheddar cheese or 1/4 cup shredded cheddar Daiya cheese

FOR THE TAHINI SPREAD

3 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp water

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp sea salt

  • Place both slices of bread under the broiler and cook until browned
  • Flip over both slices over and sprinkle or place cheese on one slice and continue to cook under the broiler until cheese melts
  • Remove from oven once browned, and layer 1 tbsp of tahini spread on the slice of bread that doesn’t have cheese on it
  • Layer vegetables on slices of bread and serve

The Best Thing to Ever Happen to a Vegan: Chickpea Cutlets & Roasted Veggies

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This dish turned me vegan…literally.

After months of wanting to me the switch to vegan, I finally made the decision to really devote myself to it.  After working insane hours at work, missing yoga, and have a crazy eating schedule, I felt completely BLAH about my body, which hadn’t happened in years.  My fix for this?  Be vegan.  Cutting out the temptations for comforting cheese and sneaking chocolate from the office candy jar seemed like the perfect way to transition into a life without meat AND dairy.  I’m committing absolutely to a month (Jim maybe a week) to see how it goes.  Having a goal makes this seem more attainable, and I really have no doubt that I can do it for the long haul.  Having always been lactose intolerant , and not adhereing to it since I love cheese so much, I really am anxious to see if I can see a difference in how I look and feel.  Plus, Daiya is really starting to grow on me.

And this dish.  These cutlets.  I was absolutely ecstatic as I tossed them into the frying pan because they looked SO much like chicken and have the same texture, yet taste WAY better.  You would have thought I won a million bucks the way I was jumping up and down in excitement over this dish.  Way back when, Jim and I had a biweekly habit of raoasting a whole chciken with tons of veggies and when I enjoyed meat, it was heaven.  This dish brought us back to that and I’m excited to use it more often and reincoporate it in place of fabulous chicken dishes we used to make.

Chickpea cutlets are seriously a thing of miracles.

FOR THE CUTLETS

2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 cup vital wheat gluten floour (you NEED this. If you dont have it, go out and find it!)

1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for frying

1/2 cup vegetable broth

1 tbsp tahini

5 cloves garlic, minced

Zest of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp black pepper

FOR THE ROAST

1 butternut squash, cubed

2 VERY large sweet potatoes ( we had massive ones from the winter farmer’s market, but use 3 if you’ve got small ones), cubed

6 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (about 3 cups)

3 carrots, sliced any way you want

1 large yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp white wine

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Toss together vegetables for roast then pour oil and white wine over them and stir again
  • Add garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary and mix again
  • Transfer into 2 13 X 9 casserole dishes, and cover with foil
  • Cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes
  • Meanwhile, for the cutlets, mash together olive oil and chickpeas, until it reaches a thick, creamy consistency
  • Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix (and knead) together until everything is absobred
  • Heat a thin layer of oil onto a frying pan over medium heat
  • Mold chickpea mix into cutlets, making sure they’re no more than 1/4 inch thick
  • Add cutlets into oil and cook on medium heat for 6 minutes on each side, or until crispy and golden brown
  • After the veggies have cooked for 45 minutes, remove foil, turn heat to 425 and cook for 20 more minutes
  • Serve roasted vegetables over chickpea cutlets