Sunday is my day to relax and mentally prepare for a long week ahead of me. I love Sunday in my head but hate when it arrives. It is the anticipation that as the clock ticks down I am just that much closer to another long week. So I have started doing what I always resisted. Buying healthy lunch ingredients and spending Sunday preparing. I decided that as this would be my first week doing this I would keep it simple. Salads and cereal and sliced bread for my breakfasts and lunches at work. It took my roughly 10 minutes to make (4) lunches for this week. It turns out it was a great idea because as the day went on my cold kicked in and my body got more and more tired. It is going to be a long week. Despite it having a holiday Wednesday. But I am prepared. I won’t need to run to CVS for a quick Asian microwave dinner bowl or Panera Bread for a veggie sandwich that (calorie-wise) I should not be having except as a treat. So I went to Whole Foods, bought 1 container of baby kale, 1 container of mixed spring greens, 4 avocados, chopped mangoes, chopped berries, and a loaf of Iggy’s pecan cranberry bread. I already had the rest of my staples so I headed home. I made a quick salad with (4) glass and plastic containers out for sorting. layer of kale, layer of spring greens, layer of berries, layer of mango. I then took out the avocados and placed them in a separate bowl, diced with lemon, salt, and pepper. Then took out a measuring cup. I needed 1 cup of cereal in bags for my breakfast. I keep a container of all my cereals mixed together. I think it is more fun than just one type of cereal. I scooped (1) cup portions into biodegradable zipper sandwich bags that I got at Whole Foods a few months back. I keep a cereal bowl at work and then packed myself some extra hazelnut milk and salad dressing. I then cut slices of the bread in half and put a thin layer of Earth Balance on each using the same knife from the avocados. I put the bread in the same type of bags as the cereal. Done. 4 days, 8 meals. I keep reusable utensils and dishes at work that I rinse and wash out in the bathroom. So I was all set. We have a kitchen downstairs too for more complicated cleaning. So it really is that easy. If you want a little something more add a rice cup or frozen dairy free gluten free Amy’s burrito to your lunch. I keep Weight Watchers Red Beans and Rice cups in my office just to throw on top of salads. It is easy, vegan, and fills me up. With just 10-15 minutes of planning you have your whole week of healthy yummy food ready. It is also cost effective. Better than $10 at Panera Bread each day or $5.00 for breakfast at Dunkin Donuts! Enjoy! ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Food is Love. The Hippie Gypsy.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I decided to eat avocados but I know it wasn’t when I lived in Southern California where they grow and I would’ve had the best opportunity at this particular produce. I am funny sometimes in that way. I always find a way to randomly miss a great opportunity like when I got parasite in Guatemala the day before I was supposed to zipline through a rainforest a life long bucket list item. Instead I was in the parking lot getting sick next to a van. But I digress. Back to the avocado, I was always turned off by the green black pimply shell and the bring mushy green insides of this so-called fruit. I knew it was fairly fatty but everyone seemed to love it as some sort of super food. So I categorized it with all those other superfoods like Wheatgrass and Seaweed and Blue Green Algae all of which (at that point) I was not buying into. They seemed alien and gross and I preferred Cheetos and Frozen Pizza. I remember trying guacamole once because my friend CiCi demanded it was amazing at a local mexican food chain one night. I thought it was soupy bland and boring. Then sometime in the past year I started putting avocado on my sandwiches to bulk them up a little after having warmed up to the smoothness of them against spicy roasted peppers at a peruvian sandwich shop near Downtown Crossing in Boston before I went vegan. I decided it was time to try guacamole but on my own terms. I would have to make it myself. I scoured the internet and saw about a thousand different recipes and gave up on them all. What flavors would I want? What would make it fresh? My mom says cilantro tastes like soap and avocados like dirt so how can I offset those flavors that she thinks she tastes so she won’t gag at the next dinner party? So I spent the day in the grocery store and then in the kitchen mixing the flavors together until I got what I wanted. I didn’t want mushy, I needed some acidity, I needed salt. So here is what I produced. It is both mom and husband approved and everyone that has tried it said the same thing “I usually don’t like guacamole from the store but I love this it’s so fresh tasting!” Mission accomplished.
1-2 capfuls of lemon juice
1 container of Whole Foods PreMade Salsa Fresca (or you can make it: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/learn-cook-fresh-salsa)
Fresh Ground Pepper
Time to Prepare!
- I make sure that both of my avocados are a little soft to the touch they don’t have to be super squishy but a finger imprint and a dark skin almost black are good signs.
- I then slice them in half by placing them upright like a pear and going straight down until I hit the seed and then circling around the seed keeping that straight line of cutting it in half.
- I pull the two halves apart and I either scoop out the seed with my avocado tool or if it is in the dishwasher I pull it out with my fingers or I stick a knife in it and pull until it loosens up and falls out.
- I then scrape out the contents with my avocado tool or make a slice down the center of the fruit flesh without piercing the skin and then across making little blocks and turn it inside out to pop out the blocks of avocado like ice cubes in a tray.
- I take all the cubes and mash them lightly with my avocado tool or a fork but I make sure it stays chunky. Over mashing will cause it to get soupy when you add the lemon juice and salsa.
- Then add kosher salt and pepper to taste. I use at least 1-2 teaspoons of salt and a few grinds from a small pepper grinder.
- Add the capful or two of lemon juice (I use Real Lemon) and then toss with a fork.
- Last add 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of the salsa fresca to the mixture and lightly mix. This adds the exact freshness that the guacamole needs to not be bland. I love that Whole Foods prepares it and has it on ice in the prepared foods section. I would hate to have to cut up all those tomatoes and onions.
- Serve with corn chips or on top of my chili recipe.
Weight Watchers Points: 1/4 of bowl is 4 points. 1/8 is 2 points. So eat it up with some fresh chopped veggies or in a veggie soup for a low point dinner or lunch!
The Hippie Gypsy
I use two cookbooks when making cakes in most cases either Chef Chloe’s cookbook “Chloe’s Kitchen” or the “Joy of Vegan Baking”. The Joy of Vegan Baking has an excellent Lemon Blueberry Loaf Cake Recipe if I remember correctly. For the purposes of this cake we are doctoring up Chef Chloe’s vanilla cake recipe (www.chefchloe.com) and making it a lemon blueberry cake for brunch in honor of my Mother’s birthday this past week.
My family is big on brunch. We do Easter brunch every year and for most informal birthday or family get togethers. We are great at doing brunch and I have been to so many hotel brunches all over the world I feel spoiled by them during my Sunday indulgences. I think that brunch is so much fun for everyone because it encourages good eating through small portions and copious amounts of veggie and fruit options even when they are not always attached to vegan items. There are fruit cups, quiches, and omelettes filled with veggie fillings so I am all about it! However, the pastries and baked goods are always filled with eggs and dairy so I am going to change that today with this travel friendly recipe to bring to your next family soiree. I promise everyone will love it. I have made it for a potluck at work a few years ago and recently for a family get together after the funeral of my grandmother and as the only vegan I always suffer the “this tastes different” criticism. But not with this cake. Even my Dad was found picking at it long after brunch was over!
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup of fresh blueberries (plus 1 cup for garnish)
- 1 jar lemon marmalade (for garnish)
- 1 tbsp of Lemon Extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour plus 1 ½ teaspoon xanthan gum)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cups soy milk
- 1 cup canola oil
- ¼ cup white or apple cider vinegar (I use ACV not white)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (I use Penzey’s Mexican Vanilla Extract)
TIME TO BAKE!
Chef Chloe’s Vanilla Cake Recipe with my additions in bold caps:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease three 8 or 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together nondairy milk (I USE ORGANIC SOYMILK) , oil, vinegar, and vanilla (ALSO ADD THE ZEST OF ONE LEMON RIND AND 1TBSP OF LEMON EXTRACT AND 2 TBSP OF LEMON JUICE.)
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not over mix. (THEN SPRINKLE 1 CUP OF FRESH BLUEBERRIES LIGHTLY WITH FLOUR AND FOLD INTO BATTER. THE FLOUR HELPS THEM FROM SINKING STRAIGHT TO THE BOTTOM OF THE CAKE PAN.)
- Fill each prepared (BUNDT) cake pan evenly with batter. Bake for (20-30) minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it. Rotate the cakes halfway through the baking time. Cool the cakes completely before assembly.
- I then flip the cake over on a cake pedestle and sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh blueberries in the center. I serve this with lemon marmalade that I buy when it is on sale at Christmas Tree Shops since they are famous for having sales on jars of jellies.
WW POINTS: 9pts per serving. (Based on 12 servings)
The Hippie Gypsy
When I first met my husband I lived in San Diego, California. I ate in for most of my meals and he ate out for most of his. I learned that he was beyond obsessed with burritos. I liked burritos well enough but the tortilla was always a little to filling for me. I prefered rise dishes or the filling over a salad. One day he made me this filling of beans and fish and salsa in the oven and put it over a salad for me and I was forever in love with it. I now place it in burritos or over rice all the time but instead of fish I use vegan chicken and he still uses fish. He prefers it over rice and in a burrito. So I will show you both and I will show you the quick way without boiling rice or making pineapple salsa from scratch 🙂 Don’t forget that anything can be subbed for the chicken portion. You can place in veggies, roasted peppers, portobello mushrooms, etc.
Gotta love a quick Meatless Mondays dish for the whole family with easy clean up!
Tropical Mexican Rice Dish
- 1 package Spanish Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice
- 4-8 Flour Burrito Tortillas (I like the Fiber One 80 calorie ones)
- 1 jar Newman’s Own Organics Pineapple Salsa
- 1 can Fat Free Refried Beans (I use Old El Paso)
- 1 container of Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips Lightly Seasoned
- Optional Toppings: Onions, Hot Sauce, lemon, lime, garlic powder, salad, etc.
- Preheat oven to 425degrees.
- On a long piece of aluminum foil smear 1/4 to 1/2 cup of refried beans in a circle in the center.
- Place chicken (or veggies or fish if you aren’t vegan) on top.
- Cover with salsa and any optional items. I cover with the onions and hot sauce first and then the salsa.
- Bring sides of tinfoil together and roll downward. Fold other sides into center.
- Place directly on oven rack. Bake for 25-30minutes (longer for fish less for chicken).
- Remove from oven.
- Place 90 second rice in microwave.
- Place 1/4cup – 1/2cup of rice in each burrito and top with oven baked filling.
(WW Points for filling without rice is 5 points, Rice is another 5 points for 1 cup, Fiber One Tortillas are 2pts each)
The Hippie Gypsy
So Monday will be my birthday. This weekend I will be removing wallpaper from my new house. As you can see I am a party animal. I cannot wait to make a birthday cake for myself however. Cakes are very important in my family. A few reasons have dictated this importance. 1.) My mother never got birthday cakes as a child due to a mixture of it being an extravagance to a single mom with six kids and also the fact that my mom was born on the second anniversary of her sister’s death. 2.) My birthday is the same week as 4 other family members. My cousin was born the 22nd, my grandmother the 24th, I on the 25th, my aunt on the 26th, and my great-grandfather on the 27th. So that week was pretty party ridden. 3.) My birthday tends to fall during blizzards. So we always had to prepare in advance for the cake in case we could not leave the house for ingredients. In High School once, I discovered that I loved cooking when caught in a blizzard on my birthday. I not only figured out how to get myself Chinese food but I also made myself an apple caramel drizzle cake out of things in the pantry and a very weathered version of the Joy of Cooking and a church cookbook were analyzed and ingredients were questioned like “is baking soda and powder different and is there a substitute for canola oil?”
So this year I am going to give you my favorite low ingredient birthday cake recipe that my husband adores despite it being vegan. I will also post links to some of the most delicious looking cakes out there and tell you where I would buy my cake if I wasn’t going to make it this year.
Enjoy my birthday cake extravaganza!
My Favorite Birthday Cake Recipe:
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake with Guava Filling
1 Box of Dark Chocolate Cake Mix (most mixes are vegan just look)
3/4 bag of vegan chocolate chips
1 can of pumpkin
Earth Balance to butter the cake pans
Parchment to line the bottom of the cake pans
1/4 bag of vegan chocolate chips
1 thin large can of guava paste (I like Goya)
Vanilla Sugar (I like Penzey’s)
Chocolate Frosting (You can make it or buy it, I like to make a ganache style frosting)
Take all cake ingredients place in a large mixing bowl. Mix until combined. Add Cinnamon to taste. I always add 1-3 tbsp so that I can taste the cinnamon over the chocolate flavor. I test as I add it. Place in two round cake pans evenly lining the bottoms with parchment and buttering them with Earth Balance Buttery Sticks.
Bake according to the box directions. Take out when you can remove a toothpick cleanly.
Next in a medium mixing bowl warm your guava paste so you can spread it in between the cake layers. On top of the cake you will sprinkle cinnamon, spread the guava paste, and then sprinkle chocolate chips and vanilla sugar. Top with warm second cake layer.
Next, warm the frosting so you can drizzle it over the top of the cake. Wait until the cake is cooled. THen drizzle the frosting over the top. Sprinkle liberally with vanilla sugar.
Serve with homemade ice cream.
LINKS TO DELICIOUS LOOKING CAKE RECIPES FOR BIRTHDAYS!
Banana Split Cake: This looks and sounds amazing.
Lemon Birthday Cake: THis sounds so light and delicious. I would even use this cake as a base for my July 4th Trifle!
Chocolate Chip Banana Cake: Chef Chloe is always a no brainer when it comes to cooking. Her cookbook also has a birthday cake recipe that looks divine! I had a banana cake layer at my wedding by Red Velvet Cafe in Las Vegas, NV and I am a convert!
Strawberry Vanilla Cake: This recipe has quite a few ingredients but I have all of them in my home so I figure so will most vegans. This looks and sounds fresh and delicious and looks amazing like a giant strawberry shortcake. Yum!
Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake: Something more decadent and raw for my raw fans! This looks so sinful I can feel a toothache coming on and the drool pooling on the side of my mouth!
Top Places to buy a Vegan Cake in New England:
1. Veggie Planet in Cambridge, MA: I cannot say enough about the restaurant or the all vegan bakery. It is amazing. Get the cheesecake with strawberries or the Coconut Lemon Passionfruit Layer Cake. I live for these two cakes and served the Coconut at my Bridal Shower last February.
2. Cafe Indigo in Concord, NH and MA Whole Foods: You can get their cakes onsite or at local Whole Foods throughout Massachusetts. The Carrot Cake changes lives. You will never want another carrot cake ever again. I served that cake at my engagement party and I buy slices of it at Whole Foods more than I probably should. My omni husband does as well and sometimes eats mine.
3. Moo-Cluck Corp. : You can buy these at various whole foods and natural foods stores in the cold section. I have bought all of their items at some point but truly love the vanilla strawberry cake when I need to buy something to run to a party in a pinch. It is yummy and the strawberries are fresh and not just some syrup.
In preparation of the Fourth of July I have found I need two things 1. Produce and 2. A Sharp Knife.
It has been a hot summer here in the Boston area and knowing this I always prepare lots of cut fruits and veggies that are placed in glass containers in my fridge for snacking or for easy food preparation. After going to the grocery stores and Costco yesterday I came home to chop all my new finds up. I have 3 containers of cucumbers, 1 very large container of tomatoes, 12 chopped apples in a mixing bowl with lemon juice for pie, and 3 containers of strawberries. I felt good about this because when traveling over the fourth of July and surrounding days I see a need for cool raw items like fruit and cutting it up just makes it more accessible. The other day I went through 2 cartons of chopped strawberries from Saturday’s farm stand because of a Graduation party. If they had not been so accessible I may have just gone and lazily bought something. Instead my vegan version of a Fruit Trifle went over so well it was empty within 1 hour. The grocery store cake was barely missing a third of its frosting. So with that I am going to give you my trifle recipe and hopefully you will take that to the next fiesta you get invited to this summer as well as my tips to remember to “chop, contain, and take away” all those delicious fruits and veggies you buy each week. The 30 minutes it takes to do them all after shopping saves so much time later that week when you are in a hurry!
Ingredients for Marscapone:
1 8oz container vegan cream cheese
1/3cup vegan sour cream
1/3cup vegan powdered sugar
Ingredients for Whipped Cream:
2 cans chilled Coconut Milk
4 tablespoons Coconut Flour
1tbs Vanilla Extract
1-2cups Vegan Powdered Sugar
Ingredients for Cake:
1 lemon cake mix (try Organics by Dr. Oetker)
2 tablespoons freshly ground flaxseed powder
1 egg worth of egg replacer (I use Ener-gee Egg Replacer and buy it at Whole Foods)
Ingredients for Fruit Filling:
4 cups chopped fresh strawberries
4 cups fresh blueberries
START: Make the yellow cake per the box specifications adding 1 egg worth of egg replacer and 2 eggs worth of powdered flaxseed (2tbsp). I use two circular cake pans and fill each half way. Bake until slightly browned and allow to cool before starting trifle.
CREAMS: In separate bowls, begin mixing the ingredients outlined above for each of the marscapone and whipped creams. For the whipped cream take only the white coconut cream substance from the can draining away any liquid before it goes in the bowl. You can double either recipe for more thick creamy layers to the trifle if you have a larger trifle bowl. Whip both until thick and place into the refrigerator while you wait to prep the rest of the trifle.
FRUIT: Chop the strawberries into small squares about the same size as a large blueberry. Blueberries can remain as is for layering.
MAKING THE LAYERS: I start the bottom layer with lemon cake. I trim the edges that are crusty off first and then slide to the bottom of the trifle bowl. I then top it with 1/2 of the marscapone cream. The next layer is of 1/2 of the blueberries. Then 1/2 of the whipped cream on top and last a layer of 1/2 of the chopped strawberries. Then repeat the whole set of layers. I save a few blueberries to sprinkle with the strawberries on the top layer as well since it is exposed.
Refrigerate until it is time to serve. Enjoy!
PS: This was a crowd pleaser to even non-vegans (since I am the only one that was at this party). They were whispering about it outside and talking to my mother about how talented I was. It is too simple to be talent so sneak around telling everyone you are an amazing chef and whip this up tomorrow morning for your Independence Day party!
So I love to travel and I love to eat but last year my surgeon came up to me and said I couldn’t eat what I had been eating and veganism was my new way of life. So after I cried over the loss of my mac n’ cheese and bacon cheeseburgers I took a deep breath and started checking out every Vegan cookbook and blog I could read. Today here I am, over a year later, less tears, and a few tricks up my sleeve. One is making a quick pie for those moments when you forgot you had to bring a dessert…
Lemon Meringue Pie is a party staple. My husband loves lemon and I love pie so it works in our house. Here is my trick Grab frozen vegan pie crust from Whole Foods, some lemon pie filling from just about any grocery store (just check for egg and gelatin most will not have this and be accidentally vegan), dump into the crust and bake to the requirements of the pie mix can. Sometimes you just need to bake the crust so fill it with dried beans to keep it from bubbling on the bottom. Then cool and add filling. Last step is the only real “cooking” part of this. Make a homemade coconut whipped cream topping.
2 cans of cold full fat unflavored coconut milk. (I always keep 2-4 in the fridge these days).
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar (use organic or vegan, easy to find at Whole Foods)
3-4tbsp of tapioca flour
1tbsp of Soy Powder
First I seperate the coconut water from the thick cream in the coconut milk cans and discard the wet stuff, thick cream only please! Then, I dump the coconut cream and all the other ingredients in a bowl and whip with a whisk until it is thick. Feel free to add more flour if needed. Some people sub tapioca for coconut flour but I don’t usually have that in my pantry so tapioca will have to do. Last spread onto the pie curd and whip little curls over the top. Freeze for about 30-60minutes and then throw into the fridge until you leave for the party!