October 31, 2011

Chewy Fruit and Nut Chocolate Chip Bar

The result of my craving for something chewy and candy-bar-like that I could take on the go:

Chewy Fruit and Nut Chocolate Chip Bars (makes 2 bars)
  • 6 large dates (I used Medjool dates but if you're using smaller dates such as Deglet you would double the number)
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 3 Tablespoons shredded coconut
  • pinch of cinnamon and tiny dash of nutmeg, optional
  • 3 Tablespoons chocolate chips, mini ones are better if you can get them
In a food processor, chop the dates to fine pieces, at which point it'll be sticking together in lumps or on the sides of the bowl. (I don't have a food processor and was able to use my Magic Bullet for this but it took a lot of patience and shaking the contents around or scraping down the cup. I used the cross-blades.)

Add the almonds and process until combined and to desired consistency, then add coconut (and spices, if desired) and process for a couple of seconds until the coconut is chopped and not in large shreds anymore. Put the mixture in a bowl and add the chocolate chips, mixing with a spoon. Using your hands, or an oiled container, press the mixture firmly into bars or roll shapes. If using your hands, work quickly or the chocolate chips will melt.

Not the prettiest thing, but yummy just the same.

What on-the-go treats do you like?

Vegan on a Shoestring

October 29, 2011

Farm Sanctuary: New York City, Walk For Farm Animals

I went to the Walk For Farm Animals at Central Park last weekend. Since going Vegan, I haven't been to any veggie or animal rights events. Not only was this my first event as a Vegan, I was going alone, so I was really nervous. When I got to the event and tried to check in, I was told my name wasn't on the list. I thought, "This is a sign I'm not supposed to be here! I should just go home." But I was already there, and wanted to show my support. I wanted to be one more body in the crowd, one more person that a passerby would see walking for the lives of farm animals.

I really enjoyed the event. It was really motivating and empowering to be surrounded by so many like-minded people, all walking together for the same reason. Not everyone was vegan. Not everyone was even vegetarian. But there we all were, raising awareness for the same cause.

Are there any veggie or animal rights events are held in your area?

Vegan on a Shoestring

October 28, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

My cooking gas is back on!!!! For the last several weeks, I have been fantasizing about all the things I would do when my gas came back. Make cakes and cookies, roast lots of broccoli, make big pots of soup, kale chips... But today, for the first time since last winter, I saw brussels sprouts for a reasonable price, and I knew what I had to do. Roasted brussels sprouts!

Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite veggies to roast. They make my apartment smell like farts, but it's so worth it! They come out of the oven crispy on the outside, tender to the bite, brown and salty, and roasting brings out a nutty flavor and slight sweetness. There are a lot of recipes that combine roasted brussels sprouts with nuts (for example, hazelnuts or chestnuts) and it's no wonder that the two go so well together. Here is a basic recipe to roast brussels sprouts all by themselves. These are best served immediately. They're good as leftovers, but not quite the same because the crispiness gets lost.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Trim all the sprouts (remove brown ends of stems, and yellow leaves) and cut them in half lengthwise (so that each half has the stem intact).
  • In a bowl or a zipper bag, coat the sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread evenly on a single layer on a pan. (Or, if you're lazy like me, you could just spread them on a pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.)
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes until well browned and tender to taste, turning them with a spatula at least every 10 minutes or so, so they brown evenly on both sides and don't stick to the pan.

What is your favorite way to cook brussels sprouts?
Do you like to dress up your brussels sprouts or just eat them as is?

Vegan on a shoestring

October 3, 2011

French Onion Dip

This weekend I was craving chips and french onion dip. Luckily for me, Tofutti's "Better Than Sour Cream" was on sale (2 for $4!) so I got to try vegan sour cream for the first time. Of course the first thing I had to do was taste it by itself, right out of the tub. It wasn't bad! I don't know if it could pass for dairy sour cream on an omni's palate, but I will definitely buy it again for myself should the mood strike to use it on a baked potato or something.

I used the whole container with a packet of Lipton's onion soup/dip mix. The mix calls for 16 ounces of sour cream but the Tofutti container is 12 ounces. I used the whole envelope anyway, figuring that the extra seasoning would cover any trace of "fakeness" of the sour cream. I let the dip chill for about half an hour before trying it.

The dip came out SO good. It was flavorful, creamy, and very thick. An omni was absolutely shocked and said that it would, and I quote, "definitely" pass for standard onion dip and that if I ever serve it at a party I should keep quiet and then shock everyone after they taste it. The only thing is that it came out slightly salty, so next time I will only use 3/4 of the onion packet, or use the whole packet add the extra 4 ounces of sour cream from a second tub of sour cream. I guess I should have been more confident about the Tofutti!

What is your favorite brand of vegan sour cream?
What kinds of chips and dips do you like?

Vegan on a Shoestring