Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter "Buttercream" Frosting

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last night was by far, the last reminder that I needed to see that summer is over. We had a windstorm that started around 4:00 and we are still under a warning for it until 7:00 tonight and it’s crazy out there! Between the howling winds and the fireplace crackling, I got the urge to bake sweet delicious treats…although for once in my life I had no desire to eat any! I do bake when I’m bored, and baking is a “comfort” thing for me. Half the time, I don’t even try my sweet treats and end up being the office favorite the next day when I bring in a tray of whatever I created the night before. But I did try one of these last night, because it was my first time trying to make a peanut butter frosting, and let me tell you, the super dense but really moist cake with the fluffy peanut butter frosting was enough to make you melt away on such a bitter, blustery Wisconsin night.

Banana Cupcakes with Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting


Use the cake recipe I posted here, but only bake for 18-20 minutes.


1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup vegan margarine, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons of soymilk (depending on how thick or creamy you want your frosting)
2 cups vegan powdered sugar

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth and fluffy.

I topped these with one of my favorite Halloween candies, which I nearly flew over the moon for when I saw vegan ones at my local Whole Foods! They were a little pricey, and were homemade by a local candy shop, but they are well worth it!

Apple Crisp and Pizza...Sounds Like Perfection to Me!

Monday, October 25, 2010

(This photo isn't mine, but I thought it was beautiful!)

This weekend was packed full of Autumn fun and adventures…from trying new restaurants to carving pumpkins to seeing the beautiful Fall Harvest at the Farmers Market…it was all amazing!

Saturday started with an early morning trip to the Farmers Market, which is my ultimate favorite way to start my Saturdays! Honestly, the fall colors on every table were enough to give me butterflies in my stomach I was so giddy! I got some incredible spaghetti squash and butternut squash. I also got some pie pumpkins and apples that looked like they were Heaven-sent! Obviously, dinner was going to be spaghetti squash, and I just KNEW I had to make an apple-something for dessert!

So, I began perusing The Kind Life forums for a good apple recipe, specifically one that I could make gluten-free, as I’m trying to see if eliminating gluten (or drastically reducing the amount I eat) will help with my thyroid issues, but I digress. I found a really yummy looking recipe posted by Tina Weiss that I had all the ingredients for and just knew I had to try. Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious! So, here is the recipe:

Autumn Harvest Apple Crisp
4 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour (to make gluten-free, I used rice flour)
3/4 cup oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats)
1/3 cup Earth Balance
1/2 cup slivered almonds [(optional) I did not use this as I am allergic, but it was in the original recipe]
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice

Heat oven to 375. Spray 8x8 dish with cooking spray.

Spread apples and raisins (if using) in pan.

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients.

Add Earth Balance, and mix with hands, rubbing together until Earth Balance is well incorporated. Sprinkle over apples.

Bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender.

I served this piping hot over Rice Dream Vanilla Ice Cream – Perfecto!

Since Sunday was the beginning of World Go Vegan Week, the man and myself decided to try one of the Madison restaurants participating that we had not yet been to, to scope out the vegan options. We went to Roman Candle Pizzeria, of which they have a couple locations in the Madison area. We went to the one in Middleton, as it’s closest to where we live. I must say, for a pizza place, I was HIGHLY impressed! Our server was fabulous, and when we mentioned the Vegan Week specials ($3 off any size vegan pizza) he recommended the “Animal Lovers” pizza with no cheese. We went for it, and added some green olives (seriously, how can you eat pizza without green olives?!) and continued looking through their menu. Seriously, this place had probably near 20 different vegetables to put on a pizza as options!! Definitely not like any other pizza place I’ve been to!

Anyway, our pizza arrived, and it was beautiful!

The big fresh basil leaves, perfectly sliced thin red peppers, broccoli, and lots of other veggies tossed perfectly on a super flavorful sauce and then lightly drizzled with olive oil. The pizza literally disappeared before our eyes! Our server was also very excited to see us order something vegan, and was asking us a lot of questions. He thought our pizza looked really good, even though it didn’t have any cheese on it (he said he never sees that…of course not in Wisconsin!) and said he may try it for his lunch that day! He was also excited to hear we liked it, so he can tell other people about the vegan specials they have this week…holla veganism!! Hahaha…so yes, if you are in the Madison area, I will highly recommend Roman Candle Pizzeria if you are looking for a vegan pizza fix!

Pumpkin Carving and Seed Roasting Good Times!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Had such a blast today! First, the man and me went and got our vegan pizza on at one of the places having a special for World Go Vegan Week (review coming up!).

Got home, and decided we needed to get our pretty pumpkins carved so we could have some super yummy roasted seeds!!

My favorite part!!!

My Pumpkin

Julian's Pumpkin

They look so good on the porch!

Once we worked our way through all the pumpkin guts and separated the seeds, I made some awesome and really easy roasted pumpkin seeds!

Rinse your pumpkin seeds really well.

Boil seeds. Use 2 cups of water for every 1/2 cup of seeds you have, and 1/2 a tablespoon of salt for every cup of water. Then, just because I need everything in my life to have a bite, I added a tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Let the seeds boil for ten minutes, then drain.

Spread seeds on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, about a tablespoon, and add your seasonings. I like to keep it simple, because they are so delicious anyway. I just sprinkle a tiny bit more sea salt and some black pepper on them. Take a spatula and stir/blend well, so all seeds have olive oil on them. Put in the oven on the top rack at 400 for about 10-20 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your seeds (I did ours for about 13 minutes). Take out, let them cool down, then enjoy!!!

Hope you all had a wonderfully-autumn weekend!!

World Go Vegan Week!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

For those of you who don’t know, next week, October 24-30 is World Vegan Week!!! I wanted to give a heads-up, because you should definitely start scoping out your areas for vegan deals! I know that, in Madison, a few bookstores are having sales on vegan cookbooks, and *drumroll* certain restaurants are giving discounts on vegan food!! Some are even donating a portion of the cost of your meal to different vegan-friendly charities and such! So get your butts on out of your house and start supporting!!! The more people that support these movements will give bigger and bigger momentum each year to continue doing these things! When companies realize how many people appreciate these things, they’ll be more apt to put vegan items on their menu or stock more vegan cookbooks, or even begin to educate themselves on the vegan lifestyle. So rock on with your bad-ass vegan self and support World Vegan Week in your area!!!

Now, if you’re in my hood (I’ve been in Madison almost a year now, so I think I can start calling it that…haha), here are some of the restaurants that are offering specials next week:

The Green Owl Café: If you read my blog, you’ll know that I have reviewed this restaurant a handful of times, just because it is absolutely my favorite place to eat in Madison! If you mention “World Go Vegan Week” when you order, you will get 50% off a dessert with a meal purchase here!!! Hell yes! Their desserts seriously make life worth living!

Bunky’s Café: Order a vegan entrée (make sure you mention World Go Vegan Week) and receive a complimentary vegan Mediterranean Appetizer Platter!!! Also, 10% of the cost of your meal will be donated to the Madison chapter of Alliance for Animals.

The Roman Candle Pizzeria: Mention World Go Vegan Week and take $3.00 off the purchase of their “Animal Lovers Pizza” – Any size! Just make sure to ask for it without cheese!

As of now, these are the only places I’ve heard of that are participating in Madison, as well as Borders Bookshop having a large display/sale on vegan cookbooks in the store entrance, but I’ll try and update this weekend if I hear of any other places getting involved! Is there anything going on in YOUR town for World Go Vegan Week?!

For more information, jump over to

You'd be downright silly to pass up half-off on the amazing vegan desserts at the Green Owl!!!

Look at the animals you save by going Vegan!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Alright, folks. Remember way back when I posted an entry about the Heartland Farm Sanctuary, a non-profit organization starting out here in Wisconsin? Well, a really super duper awesome extraordinary story was just written up about them, and I’d love for everyone to check it out. This organization, founded by Dana Barre, is something that is totally needed in the Midwest right now, and the more money she can continue to raise, the faster we can help rescue more farm animals! Even if it’s $5…every little bit can help this amazing organization. Also, if you’re local to Madison, there is a fundraiser event in November that you should definitely look into attending! I volunteer with the animals on a weekly basis, and it is such a great experience. After the stress of the workweek and everyday life in general, it’s nice to escape to this little farm where the animals are being housed until the Sanctuary can raise enough funds for their own land and interact with these incredible animals. Honestly, look at these photos, and you’ll see what I mean! So, check out the story by clicking here, it would be great if you could donate to the Sanctuary by going to their website here, or contact the Heartland Farm Sanctuary if you’re interested in helping out in any way!


Full Story Here

Video Footage taken at the Interview/Story Here

Heartland Farm Sanctuary Website Here (Donate!)

“Like” the Heartland Farm Sanctuary on Facebook!

And, I can't have a post about cute and adorable farm animals without some cute and adorable photos of them!

Diana knows that she's my little princess!

All Animals should be able to live a life this good!

Ready to play!

The two pigs that were rescued after being found wandering around Milwaukee! Photo is not mine...was borrowed from the Heartland Farm Sanctuary Facebook page.

HFS Founder Dana Barre getting some love from the goats and sheep! Photo borrowed from story.

Milanese de Pollo

Monday, October 18, 2010

You're in for a treat today if you like old-school Italian cooking! Now, the man's family is coming into town soon, and seeing as how they are Italian immigrants, they definitely know an impostor Italian meal when they taste it. Well, his mother has asked me to cook them something vegan, so I'm already shaking in my boots and getting my practice in. Now, last time they visited, they LOVED the vegan banana birthday cake (recipe here) that I made him, but now they want a meal! I was super nervous until Saturday night, when I re-created one of my favorite recipes of his mothers, only vegan! The best part...neither the man nor I could taste a single difference! Success? I think so!

Milanese de Pollo (Milanesa de Pollo in South America)

Gardein "Chick'n" Scalloppini
1 teaspoon Orgran No Egg (egg replacer)
2 tablespoons water
Olive Oil
Bread Crumbs (Store-bought, or this super easy and delicious recipe below):
2 pieces of whole grain bread, toasted until crisp, but not burnt
Dill Weed
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder

Combine two pieces of toast and spices (enough to suit your individual taste) in a blender until crumbs. It's as simple as that, folks!

In a small dish, mix together your "No Egg" powder with the water. In another dish, put your bread crumbs. Pour some olive oil into a skillet, enough to cover the base of the skillet and heat.

When oil is hot enough to sizzle, but not burning, coat your gardein pieces in the egg mixture, then coat in the breadcrumbs. Place in the oil, and pan fry, about 4-5 minutes each side, until golden in color and heated through.

Serve over your favorite whole grain or rice pasta and your favorite sauce. Enjoy!

Meat-Lovers Meat-Free Chili

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This weekend, I was overcome with the Autumn-Spirit. From exploring apple orchards and pumpkin farms to sipping hot cider and playing in leaves, the spirit really hit…or maybe it’s just the fact that when I was in Los Angeles, we really didn’t have seasonal changes…I mean, have you ever seen a palm tree change colors? Yeah, didn’t think so! The nice, crisp weather has also gotten me in a soup-making mood…thick, hearty chilis and stews. The smell warms your heart and the taste warms the soul…those kinds of soups. So anyway, I threw together a chili this weekend that was better than any “meat” chili I’ve ever had…and since it’s a crock-pot recipe, there’s nothing to it! I threw all of the ingredients in our crock-pot before leaving to explore the pumpkin farms in the morning around 9:00, and when we got home from exploring and the farmers market at around 2:00, we had a late lunch waiting for us!

Meat-Lovers Meat-Free Chili

1 cup dried kidney beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 cup dried black beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 package Lightlife Grounds (I used the Mexican Spiced Verson)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
½ onion, diced
4 cups of vegetable stock (or 4 cups of water with a veggie bullion)
3 tablespoons Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
(all spice measurements are approximate…use your own taste here and experiment!)

Combine all ingredients in the crock-pot. Set on low and cook 8 hours or high and cook for 4 hours, or until beans are firm but not crunchy. Enjoy!

The dollop in the middle is leftover “cheese” from our burrito meal the day before…it was PERFECT in this chili!!

Gardein Burritos with Cumin-Seasoned Black Beans and Spanish Rice...oh yes!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chipotle, Taco *Smell* and every other burrito haven out there have all just been put to shame...for real! This meal was super easy, super delicious, and super filling! Feel free to use dry black beans for this meal. I usually do, but have had a can sitting in my pantry for quite some time now that quite honestly, I don't even know where it came from, as I like to have *real* beans, and not the canned ones, but I digress. Either way you want to make them is fine.

"Cheezy" Gardein and Vegetable Burrito
(recipe for 2 burritos)

2 Gardein Scallopini
1/2 an onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced and seeded
1 small tomato, diced
2 large tortillas
Cheeze Sauce (click for recipe)
Cayenne Pepper
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder

Put just enough olive oil in a skillet to coat the bottom. Rub cayenne pepper, garlic powder and chili powder on the Scallopini pieces to your taste-liking. Put in hot skillet and cook about 5 minutes on each side, until hot throughout.

Chop scallopini, and throw on a tortilla with your diced veggies and roll, baby, roll! Drizzle the burrito with your "cheeze" sauce...or if you're a chubby vegan like me, drizzle the inside AND the outside of the burrito...LOL!

Cumin-Spiced Black Beans
1 can of vegan black beans
Garlic Powder
1/4 diced onion

Throw your diced onion in the same skillet used to grill up the Scallopini pieces in, to conserve the flavors. Sautee until translucent. Put in a small pot with the black beans, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and cumin (I use 2 teaspoons, but this might be a bit much for some people). Cook until heated.

Cookies Will Never Be The Same Again...

Friday, October 8, 2010

I’m going to admit something that many people (Americans, anyway) see as odd, crazy, and just plain weird…I’m not a fan of deep-fried food. Crazy, I know! It’s one thing to lightly pan fry or bread something, but to me, the deep frying has just never been something I’ve enjoyed to the extent that most people do…with the exception of fried pickles, but I digress. Anyway, the man and me saw a show on all things deep-fried on the Travel Channel, and I must admit that we got sucked into watching. Seriously, everything from pizza slices to sticks of butter to hot dogs…nothing was off limits on this show! Well, we saw places deep frying desserts, and one restaurant deep-fried Oreo cookies. My mother loves them, but I just think that it sounds nasty. Anyway, when it was removed from the fryer, it looked kind of like a cookie…and I may not like deep-fried stuff, but I do love my cookies! When they cut into the deep-fried Oreo, it truly resembled an Oreo stuffed inside a nice, yummy cookie…which is where this idea stemmed from.

There are many foods that are “accidentally” vegan, meaning that they just so happen to not have any animal products in them, but please remember that this does not necessarily mean that they are healthy! I mean yes, Oreos and Fritos are vegan, but that doesn’t mean you should eat them three times a day ever day! But, knowing that Oreos were vegan gave me the push I needed to create, in my humble opinion, the most amazing cookie I have ever tasted. Ever. Period. Honestly, an Oreo stuffed inside a chocolate-chip cookie is pure Heaven in your mouth, especially since, when it bakes, the Oreo literally melts to a truffle-like ball of creamy, chocolate-y goodness inside the chocolate chip cookie. Honestly, cookies will never be the same after you try this one!!!

Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
5 tablespoons Earth Balance (or dairy-free margarine)
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Ener-g egg replacer
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
oreo-style cookies
2 tablespoons vegan chocolate or carob chips

preheat oven to 350°F. line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat margarine and sugars together until creamy. add “egg”, vanilla, beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.

Add flour mix to margarine mix, combine well.
Add chocolate chips and mix well.

Form dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons of dough each. Roll balls flat and place an Oreo in the center. Fold the dough around the Oreo, and seal off, so the Oreo is completely covered in cookie dough.

Place on baking sheet. bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges are brown.
let cool on sheet for a few minutes before attempting to remove. place on cooling rack.

Next time I do this, I'm going to use a banana slice instead of the Oreo in the center of the cookie to see what happens!!

Hooping through the Ages - Fitness Review

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Imagine. It’s 1955. Bill Haley and the Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” starts whistling through the jukebox at the diner, and all the cheerleaders and their quarterback boyfriends can’t help but take one last sip of that strawberry malt before getting up to boogie. Waitresses bust out their hula hoops, climb on the tables, and a party that’s the bees knees starts bumping out…but ends at a respectable time, of course.

I have to admit, when I first heard about hula hooping for weight loss, this was the image that popped into my head (yes, I probably watch WAY too many movies for my own good!). I didn’t honestly think that my favorite childhood toy could actually be a tool to whittle down my waistline. But, in all actuality, it really is one hell of a rockin’ workout!

I first started “hooping” a couple of years ago. I used to be a nanny/tutor for a young girl who had such severe allergies that she was not even able to leave her home, and survived on a diet of hormone-free ground beef, corn, bosc pears (allergic to the rest) and egg/dairy free spelt pancakes/bread/anything else you could make with spelt, water and soymilk. Her allergies were so severe that she couldn’t even leave the house to play outside or go to school, which broke my heart, but her mother had set up quite the play area for her inside. One of her favorite things to do was hula hoop, like most 10 year-old girls, and they also had an “adult-sized” hoop that her mom or I could use. We started having contests to see who could keep their hoop up the longest, and this would sometimes we’d still be going strong after 30, 45, 50 minutes, upwards of an hour! When one of us would finally cave, we’d be sweaty, but not tired, and even felt more energized! Cut to the next day and Holy Hell were my abs paying the price! After a couple of weeks of these random competitions through the day, I started doing some online research.

Turns out, “hooping”, as it’s called in fitness circles, was beginning to show up in gyms across the country as a great way to shed inches, get that heart rate up, and get the blood flowing with super-low impact, and a whole lot of fun (I mean, who can’t help but smile and reminisce on their innocent and fun childhood toy when hooping?!)

Cut to now, two years later. I have my own “weight-loss hoop” that cost a mere 30 bucks. It weighs 3 pounds (I’ve graduated from the 5 pound hoop [the more the hoop weighs, maxing out at 5 pounds, the easier it is to keep up]) and is considerably larger than the hoops we used when we were kids. It’s something that takes up little space (fits in the closet), and something that you can do while watching your favorite tv shows after a long day of work. The best thing about it is, I honestly don’t feel like I’m exercising! Hooping burns up to 100 calories every TEN MINUTES, which is more than the treadmill, and much nicer on your joints (which is good if you’re someone like me, who has very sensitive joints). I make a point to hoop between 40-60 minutes a night, which realistically, is one tv show. Instead of letting my ass form to the sofa as it gradually expands, I’m up and doing something about it! And according to, hooping consistently does the following:

Physical Benefits:
Builds core strength
Tones your entire body
Provides an intense cardiovascular workout
No to Low Impact
Increases energy
Develops balance and coordination
Increases flexibility

Mental/Emotional Benefits:
Clears and quiets the mind
Reduces stress
Improves self confidence
Generates joy and laughter
Improves one's mood
Opens up creative self expression

Seriously? Swinging a hoop around your hips does all THAT?!?! I can honestly say that, yes, it does. Now, I’m not going to lie. I have not lost weight doing this. HOWEVER, I have a very severe disorder, and essentially, my metabolism is literally dead. Most people with levels like mine in my condition gain on average, 3-5 pounds a month on a restricted-calorie diet with 3-5 days of exercise a week. And between hooping and my Biggest Loser for Wii Fit, I have maintained my weight, which basically means that anybody who does not share my condition WILL lose weight and whittle down your waist by doing this. The fact that I’ve been able to maintain my weight for almost a year now (and even lose 5 pounds this year, which is nothing to most people, but HUGE for someone with my disorder), so clearly, it’s doing something for me. It’s also increased my energy and stamina, which was something that I didn’t think I’d ever have again. I HIGHLY recommend hooping to everyone out there, whether you need to lose weight, or whether your just looking for something fun to lift your spirits a little bit.

I LOVE using my hoop to stretch before and after using it. It stretches muscles I was never able to properly stretch before!

So, what does this have to do with a vegan diet, you ask? Well, if you want to get super analytical, I suppose nothing. But I truly believe that the more you get up and move, the better you feel, and the easier it is to make good healthy choices in all aspects of your life. I know that I feel better about myself when I move a bit, and it also keeps me focused on what I put into my body. Plus, being vegan, I believe, is about being good to your fellow living beings, your mother earth, and yourself and getting yourself moving is honouring your body, and thanking it for being that vessel of power. So hoop on!

Just an FYI, this is similar to my hoop if you're interested in shopping around for one: Weighted Sports Hula Hoop

And yes, you can still be "rock 'n roll" as a's not just for hippies anymore!

Eggplant Parmesan, Comfort Food Veganized

Monday, October 4, 2010

Does this look "vegan" to you?! Yeah, I didn't think so!

I have a confession…I have a warped obsession with nightshade plants…tomatoes, peppers, eggplants…I see them and immediately salivate and start imagining all the super yummy things I can do with them. Well, a woman I work with has the opposite…although she loves them, her son has a severe allergy to them. So, when her CSA share was overflowing with nightshades this past week, it was converted to a free-for-all at work, and I was able to sneak out with a couple eggplants, some green heirloom tomatoes, and a handful of jalapenos. Score, right?! Well, the eggplants were very ripe, so I knew I had to use those right away, so what better way than in a yummy, calorie-filled eggplant “parm”!!

I like to keep my recipes on the lower-calorie spectrum of things, but sometimes, you just gotta let loose a bit! So, I busted out my wanna-be Italian accent, and got to work. Now, you can fry your eggplant up any way that suits you, but I prefer a Milanesa-style frying, which is a traditional Central/South American way of bread-frying things…which is actually healthier (not much) than deep frying. But, whatever floats your boat on this one. I also like to make my own breadcrumbs, as opposed to buying storebought. It’s so simple, and you can really give them a flavor that you will love this way.

Milanesa-Style Eggplant Parmesan

1 Eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼ inch thick circles

Dipping “Egg” Replacer (I use finely ground flax seeds [1 tablespoon] in 3 tablespoons of water to replace one egg)

Whole Wheat pasta of choice (I like rotini or penne in dishes like this)

Marinara Sauce (I use my fiance’s secret recipe all the way from Vieste, Italy, but you can use your favorite jar of vegan marinara)

Galaxy Vegan Mozarella Cheese, shredded

Bread Crumbs (see recipe for my homemade crumbs)

Olive Oil for Frying

Cook pasta and strain. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium to large skillet. Lightly dip eggplant pieces in your flax “egg” then dip in bread crumbs. Place eggplant pieces in hot oil (make sure oil isn’t so deep that it completely covers the eggplant). After about 3 minutes, flip and continue to let fry. Remove from heat and place on absorbent material to suck out the extra oil.

Like a true Italian boy, my man loves his super breaded...I like mine very lightly breaded, so we do half the dish lightly breaded, and half super breaded...I'm sure you can tell whose eggplant is whose!!

In a baking dish, put a thin layer of your marinara sauce on the bottom. Place a thin layer of your pasta on this, then a layer of the eggplant, then a layer of cheese. Repeat this process so you have two layers of each thing. Pop this in the oven at 400 until the cheese is melty…about 12 minutes or so. Sprinkle with some nutritional yeast, and enjoy!

Bread Crumb Recipe
2 pieces of your favorite whole-grain bread, toasted until crispy, but not burnt
Sea Salt
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Cayenne Pepper

Tear toast into small pieces and put in a blender or food processor. Spice with the following spices according to your personal taste. Blend until you have small, uniform crumbs.

LOL...just because!

Vegan Jambalaya on World Vegetarian Day

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yesterday was World Vegetarian Day, and let me just say that I stimulated the crap out of the vegetarian economy, that's for sure!! I got not one but TWO new pairs of super cute vegan shoes from ShoeDazzle, got some vegan cupcakes for the office at Bloom Bake Shop, which were a hit, as always, and then when I got home from work, I wanted to go to my favorite vegan restaurant, the Green Owl Cafe. Now, I've eaten at a lot of really good vegan restaurants. Julian and I would go to them all the time in Los Angeles, but none of them can hold a candle to Green Owl, in my opinion! Their servers are always the absolute sweetest, their foods are unique and filling, and don't even get me started on their amazing desserts!!!

So we headed to Green Owl last night, and I was determined to try something different, while Julian was already content with the fact that he would be getting the exact same thing he always does, but he was really looking forward to their apple crisp, which is one of his favorites.

We get there and are seated in the back area, which is our favorite and took a look at the menu. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. A table was sat right next to us, and greeted right away. And we waited some more while all the waitstaff looked right at us and walked by. After 10 minutes, the people seated after us already had their drinks and salads, and we hadn't even been aknowledged. And I was hungry! I finally went up to the front and asked for some service, which, after a few more minutes, we finally got. Then, the special that I wanted was sold out, which made me sad, but I tried the vegan jambalaya instead, and I'm very glad I did! Every course took a very long time to receive (20 minutes for a dip platter, 40 for soup and salad, and an hour for our main course), but as always, neither of us had a single bad thing to say about the food! My jambalaya was absolutely delicious! It was so flavorful and filling, and it came with the most delicious roasted red pepper cornbread. And my Mediterranean Bean and Orzo soup was awesome as suprise there. By the time dessert rolled around, we'd already been there two and a half hours now, and had missed the movie we planned on seeing, so we skipped dessert for the first time in our Green Owl history, and just went home...we figured if we stayed it may end up being another hour...hahaha!

But, although this was by far our worst service experience here, the food will no doubt keep us coming back for more...and more...and more!!

So how did you spend your World Vegetarian Day?

Honestly, how can you be upset when the food looks this good?!?!

VEGAN SHOES!! All New Styles for Fall!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Alright, I know I've posted about them before, but ShoeDazzle is an amazing shoe company that only sells vegan shoes and handbags. All shoes/purses/etc. are always 39.99, which includes free shipping/returns/exchanges. Every month, they send you new shoe options, and you can choose to skip the month if you're just not feeling it, or choose a pair (or 6) to buy for that's as simple as that! They have the best customer service of any company I've ever done business with, and when I logged on to their website today, and saw the shoes that they picked for me for the month of October...I almost cried because I want them ALL! Anyway, is a link you can use to get 20% off your first pair of shoes. You have to sign up directly through this link, or you won't get the 20%. If you've been thinking about signing up, I would definitely say that now is the time, because the shoes for October are amazing and cruelty-free!!

Here are the shoes that they picked out for me this month:

Low-Cal Super Stuffed Peppers

The other day I had mentioned that I was going to make stuffed peppers, but was then overcome with the urge to “stuff” something else. Well, my craving for stuffed peppers was back, so here we go! Now, the actual process of these is much less complicated than it seems…it’s really just cooking the rice and the SmartGrounds, and popping them in a pepper, but follow along for a delicious meal! (FYI, the amount of rice and “beef” that this makes is enough for 6-8 peppers. It is just the two of us, so we use 2 peppers and then have the “beef” and rice left over to make other yummy stuff through the week with!)

At only 1.5 grams of fat and 230 calories, this is Mexican food at it's finest, folks!

You’ll Need:

Red or Green Bell Peppers (2-8, depending on how many people you’re feeding)
1 cup of brown rice
Spices – I used cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder
½ a small can of green chilis…about 4 ounces
2 tomatoes
½ onion
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 package of Lightlife SmartGrounds, Mexican Style or other vegan ground beef substitute
Your Favorite Smooth Tequila (not for the peppers, but for the cook!)

Bring 2 ½ cups of water to a rolling boil and pour in 1 cup of rice. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, and chili powder to your liking (I’m a spice fiend, so the amount I use is probably way more than you’ll want to use!). While that is cooking, sautee ½ a diced onion and tablespoons of minced garlic until garlic is golden brown and onions are transparent. Add these to the cooking rice. Dice 2 tomatoes and add these along with 4 ounces of canned green chiles when there is about 5 minutes left of cooking time for the rice.

When the rice is almost finished, heat up your SmartGrounds (I prefer the Mexican style). I add about 3 tablespoons of hot sauce to this while it’s cooking and about 2 teaspoons of onion powder just for some more flavor. The SmartGrounds only take a few minutes to heat.

Cut the tops off of your peppers, so they are like deep bowls. Seed and rinse out the inside of the peppers and place in a pot of boiling water for 4-5 minutes, until slightly soft. Remove from boiling water and submerge in cold water for a few minutes.

Once your peppers are cool enough to handle, prop them upright and begin layering. I do a spoonful of the SmartGrounds, a spoonful of the rice, and so on and so forth until the pepper is full. I then top this with a couple sliced olives. Put these in a very lightly oiled baking dish, and pop in the oven for about 10 minutes. Top off with some salsa and enjoy!

Buen Provecho!

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