Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Green at Heart

   I have left this site up as a reference to anyone who has taken on their own vegan challenge. Little did I know that this blog would be such a success even after leaving it unattended for so long. It brings me joy to know the it is still serving those who are looking to make a change in their life.

   If you have enjoyed the content on this site I would like to invite you to check out my new blog Green at Heart. My blog strives to provide simple solutions to bring a little bit of green into everyone's life with some great new vegan recipes, sustainable projects, zero waste guides, and much more.


Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


     I have been having an obsession with Greek food for a while now and thought I would share with you a pretty straight forward easy recipe for tabouleh. It goes great as a side dish or mixed with hummus, and you can also eat it with falafels of course.

1 cup of fine cracked wheat (bulgur)
1/2 minced green onions
1 cup of fresh parsely
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
4 medium coarsely chopped tomatoes
2 lemon's fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil

    Step 1: Soak the cracked wheat in enough water to cover and let soak for 1 to 2 hours. Drain well and squeeze it as dry as possible.

    Step 2: Place the cracked wheat in a bowl and add the green onions, parsely, mint, and tomatoes. Toss and then stir in the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil and let sit for about 30 to 45 minutes. Ready to serve.

  Note: The longer you wait the more of the flavor with be absorbed by the cracked wheat which makes this an awesome leftover dish as well. I often will make the full recipe and eat this dish all week as a side dish to my main meal or as a snack with hummus and pita bread.

Serves: 8

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

    It comes that time of year where we all tend to want to splurge on various comfort foods, but this winter try being kinder to your body while still enjoying the abundance of food this season has to offer with a few vegan recipes. This vegan sweet potato gnocchi was altered from an amazing recipe I found on Instructables.com which has step by step instructions with pictures on how to make it. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
     This wonderful recipe is traditionally made with mashed potatoes, but this fall try spicing it up by making sweet potato gnocchi. You can also make it using pumpkin or butternut squash instead.


Gnocchi:                                                  Sauce:
3 medium sweet potatoes                        1 can of diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups of flour                                     2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of salt                                              A handful of pitted black olives
½ tsp of nutmeg                                       One small celery stalk
                                                                 One small onion, diced                  
                                                                 3 basil leaves, roughly torn
                                                                 2 tablespoons of olive oil
                                                                 1 teaspoon of oregano
     Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 and bake the sweet potatoes whole for 45 to 55 minutes or until very tender (they should start to ooze a little out of the skin). After they have slightly cooled cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the pulp with a spoon into a mixing bowl. Put in the freeze to cool for about 30 minutes.

    Step 2: Once the sweet potatoes have cooled mix in the flour, salt, and nutmeg. Turn the dough onto a flour covered surface and continue to knead the dough. Separate the dough into 1 inch tubes and segment them into half inch pillow shapes. Put to the side.

    Step 3: Sauté the onion, garlic, celery, and olives until tender. Add the diced tomatoes and spices. Simmer until it is a saucy consistency and most of the tomatoes chunks have been broken down which should be about ten minutes.

     Step 4: When the sauce is almost done boil a large pot of lightly salted water. Once it is boiling add the gnocchi (make sure they don’t stick together). Continue to boil the gnocchi for 2 to 4 minutes. Once they are done the gnocchi will float to the top. Drain the gnocchi in a colander and return them to the pot. Add the finished sauce and they are ready to be served.

(Serves 4)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The 101 Day Challenge Celebration

      The other night I celebrated the completion of my 101 day Vegan Challenge by inviting a bunch of my friends over for a vegan potluck and karaoke party. I thought that it would be the perfect way to celebrate for I would be surrounded by tons of great vegan food and challenge others to bring a vegan dish of their own. People came with a variety of different foods such as; veggie platters, fruit, soup, cookies, cupcakes, and chips. I must say my favorite dish was the ingenious dessert my roommate came up with. Not only did she make delicious vegan cupcakes, but they were shaped like microphones!

    Here is the recipe for those of you that would like to try and make these amazing cupcakes.

Microphone Cup Cakes
1 cup soymilk
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan margarine
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 box (24 pack) of ice cream cones
Vanilla frosting
A few drops of black food coloring
Silver Sprinkles
Mini muffin paper liners
Mini muffin pan

    Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350F and line with the mini muffin pan with paper liners.
    Step 2: Mix the soy milk and vinegar together and let sit for a few minutes. Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and into the bowl and mix.
     Step 3: In a separate large bowl use a handheld mixer to cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy (but don't beat past two minutes). Beat in the vanilla and soy milk mixture.
    Step 4: Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way and bake for 15 minutes.
    Step 5: Mix a few drops of black food coloring with the vanilla frosting until gray. Use the back of a spoon to spread the frosting around the inner sides of the cones to affix the cupcakes.
     Step 6: Once the cupcakes have cooled remove them from their wrappers. Stick one cupcake right side up into the cone and frost its top. Then stick a second cupcake on top of the first and frost its top.
     Step 7: Pour the silver sprinkles in a bowl and coat the top cupcake with sprinkles.

(Makes 4 dozen mini cupcakes - 2 dozen full microphone cupcakes)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

What I Have Learned

     I never thought before starting this challenge that I would ever become vegan, let alone stick with it after this 101 Day Challenge. At that time I had initially started this challenge I had just been diagnosed with irritable bowl syndrome and high cholesterol, as well as decided to pursue a career in public relations, and needed to come up with a topic to blog about that I could show to potential employers. While I was searching for the perfect topic that I could write a blog about I was seeing a lot of doctors about my various health problems. My doctor told me to stay away from dairy products, which can be hard to digest, for a while to see if that was the cause of my frequent stomach problems, and was sequentially informed that I had high cholesterol. I normally hardly ate any meat and by cutting dairy product out of my diet I realized I would already be eating pretty much a vegan diet. That’s was when the light bulb went off and I had my blog topic; “The 101 Day Vegan Challenge”.

     I went into the challenge believing that I would only do it for 101 days until my stomach recovered, and my blog was complete.  I now know there is so much more to offer from the vegan diet and way of lifethan I had originally thought. I have seen so many improvements both in my overall physical and mental health, as well as in my daily life since starting this challenge. I have noticed little changes like the fact that I use to have really weak nails that always broke which are stronger and seem to grow twice as fast, or that my taste buds and appetite has changed so that I actually crave fresh fruits and veggies! There were also the great benefits of my new found ability to better control my irritable bowl syndrome, my zero intake of "bad" cholesterol found (only in animal products), and a leaner stomach. Not only were there tons of health benefits, but also by partaking in this challenge it has opened me up to a whole 'nother world of enviromentally conscious caring people and businesses alike. I have started pay more attention to how my actions effect my environment and those around me. Even though during this challenge my eyes were opened to many horrible things that are happening in our world, like the abuse and neglect of animals, I am finding I that have started to look at things in a more positive light then ever before. 

    I have to say that completing this personal challenge has changed my life for the better and I can't ever see myself going back, now that I have seen all the positive effects that this diet and way of life can have on a person. I encourage all of you to try it for your self and see what a difference it makes on your own life. Although this challenge is over and I will not longer be writing daily posts I will probably update this blog every so often with new recipes and things I am learning as I continue to submerge myself in the vegan way of life.

Day 101: Food Shelf Life

     As many of you well know yesterday was my last official day of my vegan challenge, and unfortunately I wasn't able to write my post until this morning due to my hectic schedule with school just coming back into session. I was determined though to stick it through and write a great conclusion in two posts for the completion of this journey.

     For my last day I decided it would be appropriate to talk about the shelf life of the food that we buy at our various grocery stores, and farmers markets. This information is important for two reasons; health and reducing waste. On one end of the spectrum is the general health concern of expired food. We all have had those moments when we look at our leftovers in the refrigerator that we made last week and wonder if it is still safe to consume without getting sick. On the other hand Americans waste roughly 14% of their food purchases, and 15% of that includes food that were still within their expiration date.

    This information is especially important for vegans who often consume a lot of fresh produce which tends to spoil relatively quickly in relation to other processed foods. In order to better plan your grocery lists so your food doesn't go bad, before you get a chance to getting around to cooking it, I would recommend checking out ShelfLifeAdvise which gives you all the information you need to know about the shelf life or your food, how to better store it so it lasts longer, as well as informs you about up to date food recall information.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the expiration dates on a lot of the products you might pick up at the grocery store do not mean that's the exact date you can no longer safely consume that product. Expiration dates on products is about quality. By giving you a date on the product there reassuring you that by that date you will still have the best quality, but that is by no means the actual shelf life of the product. Many Food Banks and other public dining facilities for those that are less fortunate often take the food that has slightly passed that expiration date and make wonderful healthy meals for those who cannot afford it. I helped out at a food kitchen once, and they had the absolute best produce for it is always the ripest right before it is about to go bad. These public institutions by no means feeds there clientele "bad food" but is taking a step to make due with the waste that the misconceptions on what expiration dates mean produces on a daily basis.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 100: No-Bake Almond Oatmeal Cookies

       If you haven't realized by now I have a thing for oatmeal cookies. Tonight I had a sweet tooth craving, but low and behold I didn't have much in my kitchen for baking once again, so i decided to get creative. I cracked open my trusty cookie book "The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur" by Kelly Peloza which I talked about on day 28 to find some recipe that I could alter. I found an interesting No-Bake Cashew Oatmeal Cookie recipe, but didn't have any cashew butter or soymilk, so instead I substituted cashew butter for almond butter and almond milk for soymilk making my version of the recipe which I call the No-Bake Almond Oatmeal Cookies.

      Another thing I found to be intriguing was that initially when I read the "No-Bake" in the recipe title I immediately assumed it was raw, but interestingly enough it uses the stove top to melt the ingredients together rather than in the oven.

     While the cookies in the picture might not seem all that aesthetically pleasing don't be fooled for these are actually one of the best vegan cookie recipes I have yet to make. These cookies use are held together by the caramelized sugar in the recipe, giving it a rice crispy like texture. The best part though was the total cook and prep time time was under ten minutes!

No-Bake Almond Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of almond milk
1 1/2 cup of raw sugar (regular sugar is fine too)
6 tablespoons of vegan margarine
1/2 cup of almond butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups of rolled oats

    Step 1: in a medium sauce pan dissolve the flour in the almond milk at low heat. Add the sugar and margarine then bring to boil at medium to low heat. Boil for about one minute stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add almond butter, vanilla, and oats; stirring until thick.

    Step 2: Drop the mixture in large spoonfuls onto parchment paper and let cool. For faster results you can also stick them in the refrigerator for a bit.

.Makes 3 Dozen (can can always halve the recipe as well, which I always do since I have no self control when it comes to vegan goodies)