Thursday, May 28, 2015

Vida Vegan Con: Instant Sweet Tea Lemon Iced Tea Mix

We just arrived in gorgeous (albeit rainy) Austin, Texas and are so excited for the launch of Vida Vegan Con (#VVCIII) tomorrow! We hope you'll all come out and shop some of our favorite vegan cookbooks by authors like the incomparable Joni Marie Newman (with spectacular photography by Celine Steen). This is one of our favorite books from Joni and Celine and we couldn't help but share a sweet tea recipe since we're coming live to you from the south.

Instant Sweet Tea Lemon Iced Tea Mix
Excerpted from Vegan Food Gifts by Joni Marie Newman and Celine Steen

This instant iced tea mix is a perfect host or hostess gift when attending a summertime barbecue or get-together. The ingredients are simple, and it is a snap to throw together in a hurry.

2 cups (67 g) unsweetened instant 100% tea crystals (the only ingredient on the label should be tea)
3 cups (600 g) evaporated cane juice
2 (1⁄3-ounce, or 9 g each) packets unsweetened lemonade drink mix or 2 tablespoons (18 g) citric acid
Zest of 2 lemons

Combine all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
YIELD: 4 cups (896 g) mix

Gift It!
This refreshing tea packs well in Mason jars, cellophane bags, and individual pocket gift bags made with 8 1/2" x 11" (21.5 x 28 cm) pieces of paper. Be sure to add the recipe card below.


Vegan Food Gifts by Joni Marie Newman

Impress your family, friends, neighbors, guests—anyone!—with homemade gifts that you can feel good about and others will love. From mouthwatering vegan baking mixes you can create, package, and label yourself, to DIY gift baskets, preserves, liquors, and more, you’ll find that perfect something for everyone, no matter what their views or inclinations. (No one can say no to a chocolate chip cookie after all—vegan or otherwise!)

Vegan Food Gifts shows you how easy it is to create great homemade gifts that are not only kind and eco-conscious, but delicious too. So whether you are an expert chef or a beginner cook, a crafty genius or someone without an artistic bone in your body, you’ll find projects that not only suit your skills, but your budget too.

Be the hit of the bake sale, the darling of the holidays, the hostess with the most-est, and more with Vegan Food Gifts.
Blogger Tricks

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Vida Vegan Con: Mushroom Rice

Vida Vegan Con starts this Friday in Austin, Texas with a fun-filled vegan bazaar. We'll be there with author JL Fields hosting a giveaway for an autographed copy of her amazing new book, Vegan Pressure Cooking, and a Fagor pressure cooker. It's a pretty sweet package and we're excited to be able to raffle it off to you. If you're in Austin, you should definitely come by and say hello. It's going to be a blast.

Mushroom Rice
Excerpted from Vegan Pressure Cooking by JL Fields

Serve this mushroom rice with a lightly seasoned Asian stir-fry or roll it up in a nori sheet with your favorite vegetables for a hearty vegan sushi roll. When selecting mushrooms, shiitake, cremini, or maitake are all nutrient-packed, flavorful choices.

1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup (70 g) chopped or sliced mushrooms
1 cup (190 g) long-grain brown rice
1 1 ⁄2 cups (355 ml) vegetable broth
1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) tamari

In an uncovered pressure cooker, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the rice and broth. Stir to combine. Cover and bring to pressure. Cook at high pressure for 22 minutes. Allow for a natural release. Remove the lid and stir in the tamari to taste.

Yield: 4 servings


Vegan Pressure Cooking

Say goodbye to long cooking and preparation times. With a pressure cooker, you can cook filling, nutritious meals in under an hour and with little mess or cleanup. It's not only delicious, but easy too! With Vegan Pressure Cooking, you'll learn all of the ins and outs of pressure cooking--including why there's no need to be scared of trying something new! From choosing a pressure cooker that suits you best to understanding the ingredients that are perfect for pressure cooking - including beans, grains, hearty vegetables, and more - author JL Fields will walk through all the ropes so you can start creating delicious, everyday meals in no time. Recipes span all meals and tastes, from easy breakfasts like Savory Oatmeal and Stewed Apricots to healthy dinners like Kale, Lentil, and Squash Chili and Sweet Potato Enchiladas. There's something for everyone!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Vida Vegan Con: Espresso Bean Ice Cream

We could not be more excited that Vida Vegan Con is only a few days away! In honor of this truly fantastic conference, we're sharing only vegan recipes on the blog all week long. And we thought since the weather is getting hotter by the minute, ice cream was a great place to start.

Learn how to make one of the best vegan ice creams out there with this recipe from Wheeler del Torro's book, The Vegan Scoop.

And if you're headed to Austin, Texas for VVCIII this year, please find our booth and say hello. We'll be at both the bazaar and the conference itself. It's going to be fantastic and we can't wait to meet you :)

Vegan Espresso Bean Ice Cream
Excerpted from The Vegan Scoop by Wheeler del Torro

The rich candy-coated beans in this recipe provide a wonderful contrast to the smooth vanilla flavor of this ice cream.

1 cup (235 ml) soymilk, divided
2 tablespoons (16 g) arrowroot powder
2 cups (470 ml) soy creamer
¾ cup (150 g) sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
¾ cup (180 g) vegan chocolate covered espresso beans

In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup (60 ml) soymilk with arrowroot and set aside.

Mix soy creamer, remaining ¾ cup (175 ml) soymilk, and sugar in a saucepan and cook over low heat. Once mixture begins to boil, immediately add arrowroot cream. This will cause the liquid to thicken noticeably. Add vanilla extract.

Refrigerate mixture until chilled, approximately 2 to 3 hours. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. In the last few minutes of churning, add chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Yield: 1 quart (approximately 600 g)

Tasty Tidbit
• Espresso beans differ from regular coffee bean in that they are roasted longer, so that the oils are brought to the bean’s surface.

Hot Chocolate Fondant

A “fondant” is a sweet, thick icing made from cooking sugar, water, and syrup (or cream of tartar). Once cooked and cooled, it can be kneaded into a pliable consistency and used to decorate cakes. Heating fondant, on the other hand, makes it soft enough to be used as ice cream coating.

3 cups (1020 g) agave nectar
5 ounces (150 ml) water
2 tablespoons (28 ml) light corn syrup
3 ounces (84 g) unsweetened
chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon (5 ml) almond extract

In a saucepan, combine agave nectar, water, and corn syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture cooks down and reaches 92˚F (33˚C).

Remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate and almond extract, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Spoon warm fondant over ice cream.

Yield: 1½ cups (355 ml)


The Vegan Scoop

Buy from an Online Retailer

The Vegan Scoop brings the pleasures of the ice cream parlor into your home with 150 recipes for delicious frozen desserts that are so rich and creamy, they’re better than the “real” thing—and contain one-third the calories!

Developed by vegan hipster Wheeler del Torro of Wheeler’s Frozen Desserts, these “faux” creams feature 100 percent vegan-certified ingredients, making them suitable for both vegans and those with lactose intolerance and other dairy aversions. And with each serving containing approximately 80 calories—nearly 100 calories fewer than a serving of traditional ice cream—you can indulge with peace of mind (and keep your trim waistline!).

Chapters are devoted to innovative flavor “inspirations,” and cover everything from Caribbean & Island Flavors to Healthy Flavors and Aphrodisiacal Flavors. You’ll also find two chapters full of recipes for toppings, sauces, sides, and other dessert accompaniments.

Recipes include:

Peanut Butter Banana
Black Sesame
Chocolate Marshmallow
Almond Cookie
Orange Passion Fruit
Granola Crunch
Pecan Apple Danish
Espresso Bean
Vanilla Graham Cracker
and hundreds more!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Zucchini Noodles Al Dente

If you don't own a spiralizer yet, now is the time to get one... and here's your excuse: you need to make this zucchini noodles recipe from Judita's newest book, Raw and Simple Detox. Okay, so you don't actually need a spiralizer to make this recipe, but it certainly is a fun kitchen gadget to play with. And check out the results.

Zucchini Noodles Al Dente
Excerpted from Raw and Simple Detox by Judita Wignall

Zucchini noodles are a favorite in the raw food world. The taste is neutral, especially if you decide to peel them, and they take on the flavor of whatever sauce you dress them in. They shine best in Italian flavors. Below is my light and lovely noodle recipe that can all be tossed easily in one bowl. I also included a couple of my classic raw Italian sauces if you want something more familiar. They work great slightly warmed, too. And they're even better topped with a little Parmesan Cheese.


To prepare the zucchini noodles, use a vegetable spiralizer (I really like the one from World Cuisine) or use a hand peeler to turn them into linguini-style ribbons.

2 zucchini, spiralized or peeled into ribbons
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
½ of a small bell pepper, diced
¼ cup (25 g) chopped Botija olives
¼ cup (35 g) raw pine nuts
1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 28 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (3 g) chopped fresh basil
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Light squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Toss all the ingredients in a bowl and serve.


Raw and Simple Detox 

Raw & Simple Detox is a guide to help you detoxify your body with simple, nourishing foods. Get your detox started with information on how to set up your kitchen, raw food techniques, and lifestyle advice. Then, use the 100 recipes included to improve your health, energy, immune system, memory, and digestion. Shopping lists, meal plans, and menus are included to help you easily plan meals and combine recipes for maximum effect. Whether you want to go on a day-long, multiple-day, or week-long cleanse, or add detoxifying meals to your regular diet, Raw & Simple Detox will help you reset your eating habits and live a healthier life!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mediterranean Diet Mondays: Southern Italian Goat and Herb Stew/Pignata di Capra

Welcome to Mediterranean Diet Mondays on a Tuesday. I had oatmeal on the brain yesterday, so I'm sorry to anyone who has diligently been following this series.

But hang on folks because today's recipe from The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook is an amazing one. No, you don't have to make it with goat. You can swap the protein for whatever you choose, but gold star if you go with goat.

Oh and... some big news coming soon -- #BeInTheKnow

Southern Italian Goat and Herb Stew/Pignata di Capra
Excerpted from The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Amy Riolo

This savory stew has been prepared in Basilicata, Calabria, Puglia, and Abruzzo since antiquity. A true testament of farm-to-table cuisine, it was generally made with male goats or mutton because their fibrous meat was too tough to be prepared other ways. This dish can be made in its original version containing only a handful of ingredients, or in a more decadent version that incorporates the freshest seasonal vegetables, aged cheese, sausage, herbs, and spices.

¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
½ pound (225 g) yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped
½ pound (225 g) carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces
1 rib celery, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2½ pounds (1 kg) goat (other meat such as beef, veal, or lamb) or cubed, from the thigh or shoulder, about 1½ inches (4 cm) each
1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt or salt
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
1 bunch fresh thyme, finely chopped
4 cups (950 ml) water or Beef Stock
1 bay leaf
1 pound (455 g) Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces
1 cup (226 g) crushed peeled tomatoes
¼ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper

Yield: 6 servings

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Add the onions, carrot, and celery, and turn to coat in oil. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for 1 minute, or until it releases its aroma.

Add the goat meat (or other meat) and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until browned on all sides.

Season with salt and stir in rosemary and thyme. Add the stock and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes, tomatoes, and crushed red chile pepper. Stir, and cover. Cook for another hour, or until the meat is very tender. Taste and adjust seasonings, and remove the bay leaf before serving.

Mediterranean Tradition
In 2014, Chef Luigi Diotiauti and I presented a program and created a podcast called “The Goodness of Goat” for the International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference in Chicago. We continue to promote goat through our joint efforts and consider it “the meat of the future.” Even so, it still can be a challenge to find. Call local ethnic butchers to special order, if possible. Goat meat can replace lamb or beef in many recipes. Try it grilled, roasted, or braised for a delicious and low-fat meat entrée.


The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook

More than a mix of rich history, gorgeous beaches, and warm blue waters, the countries along the Mediterranean Sea and their people have a history of living longer and healthier lives and you can too! By simply following a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, even drinking wine with meals, you can prevent diseases and prolong your life.

The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook is the only book needed to unleash the power of one of the world's healthiest diets. It integrates the latest research and clinical findings with 100 delicious, authentic, easy recipes and Mediterranean lifestyle tips while dispelling any myths and misinformation.

Using the Mediterranean Pyramid as a guide, cuisine expert Amy Riolo gets to the core of the Mediterranean lifestyle, and explains what is eaten, when to eat it, and why. Each recipe in The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook contains a cultural tip from the Mediterranean region. Fun historical facts, legend, and lore, as well as nutritional information accompany each recipe.

The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook features recipes from all countries in the region to include perennial favorites, little known treasures, and recent discoveries.

Get ready to enjoy a healthy lifestyle that includes enticing, satisfying, recipes- great for family dinners and entertaining, for any and all occasions, to be appreciated by any palate.

"Amy Riolo is a true guardian of the techniques and inherent goodness of the Mediterranean life style! Her food, her philosophy is an absolute pleasure to read and consume." - Chef Jason Roberts

Monday, May 18, 2015

Banana Raspberry Oatmeal Casserole

Grab your slow cooker. Let's make a breakfast that everyone will love.

Whether you're gluten-free, dairy-free, or just love food (don't we all?) this recipe is designed with you in mind. Did you know that you can make an oatmeal casserole with your slow cooker? Well, you can... and it's mind-blowingly good. This recipe is a sneak peek from Hope's upcoming cookbook, The Gluten-Free Slow Cooker. It publishes in October, but you can preorder a copy today.

Banana Raspberry Oatmeal Casserole
Excerpted from The Gluten-Free Slow Cooker by Hope Comerford

This delicious, lightly sweetened oatmeal casserole, glittered with pieces of banana and raspberries, is a healthy way to start your day, and it requires just a few simple ingredients.

2 bananas, sliced
2 cups (160 g) old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup (60 g) turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups (475 ml) almond milk
2 tablespoons (25 g) coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint (455 g) raspberries

Spray your crock with nonstick cooking spray, and then spread the bananas evenly around the bottom of the crock.

In a bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the mixture over the bananas.

In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, oil, and vanilla. Spread the raspberries evenly over the top of oat mixture, and then pour the milk mixture over the top.

Cover the crock and cook on LOW for 3½ to 4 hours or on HIGH for 2 hours.

RECOMMENDED SLOW COOKER SIZE: 5 to 6 quart (5 to 6 L)
YIELD: 4 to 6 servings

To make an adult version of this, swap out some of the milk for rum or RumChata.

Add whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top when serving for an extra special presentation.


The Gluten-Free Slow Cooker

Stick to your gluten-free diet while still enjoying hearty, home-cooked meals with The Gluten-Free Slow Cooker.

Busy families know how challenging it is to create delicious dinners night after night that everyone in your family will and can enjoy. If you live in a gluten-free household, you may think it's downright impossible. But with the help of a slow cooker and these easy recipes, things are about to change for the better.

The Gluten-Free Slow Cooker makes mealtime quick and easy. With a little prep the night before or morning of, you can come home to tasty meals that have spent hours cooking while you were out taking care of the rest of your life!

Busy mom and gluten-free recipe developer Hope Comerford provides you with more than 100 recipes, from Slow Cooker Frittata with Tomatoes, Avocado and Cilantro to Korean Inspired BBQ Shredded Pork, you'll find meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert. All with minimal prep but tons of flavor!

Stick to your gluten-free diet while still enjoying hearty, home-cooked meals with The Gluten-Free Slow Cooker.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spicy Fermented Summer Salsa

I don't know about you, but I simply cannot wait to get into my kitchen and start making some salsa this weekend. I even bought an entire case of jars in varying sizes! So ready. Watch out chips. I'm coming for you.

I never thought about fermented salsa before reading this recipe from The CSA Cookbook (get this book. It's so fantastic). Now I can't imagine making salsa any other way. Fermented foods are awesome for you and when they taste this good, there's no reason to say no.

Happy fermenting and canning, folks. Let me know how your salsa turns out.

Spicy Fermented Summer Salsa
Excerpted from The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly

Why fermented salsa? Why not normal salsa like you’ve always made? I’ve used this same recipe for nonfermented salsa and it’s fine—great, actually—but fermentation pushes it over the line to fantastic.

The same bacteria and yeasts that give sauerkraut and kimchi their distinctive flavor also give this salsa a bright and tangy note. And, those same bacteria and yeasts are what make this salsa so good for your gut. It’s an easy way to get fermented foods in your diet if you’re not keen on kraut; the salsa is lively on the taste buds without being too sour or too salty.


1½ pounds tomatoes, cut into small dice
½ red onion, cut into small dice
½ to 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (some jalapeños are hotter than others, so do a taste test before putting the whole thing in there)
½ serrano pepper, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chopped cilantro
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of 1 lime
Olive oil for topping

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients (except the oil). Pour the salsa into a quart jar and run a knife around the sides of the jar to release any trapped air bubbles. Add a ½-inch layer of oil on top. The oil serves two purposes: It prevents the vegetables from rising above the liquid and growing mold on the surface, and it adds a richness to the salsa once you mix it in.

Loosely seal the jar with a lid and let it stand at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for a few days. The warmer your room temperature is, the faster your salsa will ferment. You’ll begin to see bubbles in the jar as the lactic acid bacteria flourish. Taste the salsa after 3 to 4 days; if it hasn’t developed a bold, tangy flavor yet, leave it out for up to 1 week. The longer you let it ferment, the more intense the flavor will become and the longer the salsa will keep (since the bacteria is a natural preservative). Refrigerate once the salsa reaches peak flavor. The oil may congeal in the cold temperature, but it is still safe to eat. Bring the salsa to room temperature and stir in the oil before serving.

Easy Does It

Fermented salsa undergoes the same process of lacto-fermentation as sauerkraut (the lacto refers to
lactic acid, not lactose). By letting your salsa sit out for a few days, you’ll encourage all kinds of beneficial bacteria in the mix, creating a powerful probiotic that you can’t get enough of (in my house, a jar never lasts more than a couple of days!). Many fermentation recipes call for the addition of whey or starter culture to infuse the food with good bacteria, but this simple recipe requires only the existing bacteria (which is already present on the skins of all your vegetables) to get started. It may take a day or two longer to ferment, but the ease makes it worth the wait.


The CSA Cookbook

Make the most of your CSA membership - or your garden harvest - with simple yet bold, inventive yet nourishing meals from acclaimed blogger Linda Ly.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs have connected farms to consumers and made people more in tune with where their food comes from, but still leave many stumped beyond the conventional uses for their produce. How many times has a CSA share arrived with things you've never seen before or not known what to do with?

The CSA Cookbook will help you cook your way through a CSA box (or farmers' market or backyard bounty) with 105 seasonal recipes that utilize every edible part of the plant, from leaves and flowers to stems and seeds. Think of it as a nose-to-tail approach - for vegetables!

With innovative ideas for preparing the lesser-known but no-less-delicious parts of plants, tips for using the odds and ends of vegetables, and easy preservation techniques, Linda Ly helps you get from farm to table without a fuss. Chapters include tomatoes and peppers, leafy greens, peas and beans, bulbs and stems, roots and tubers, melons and gourds, and flowers and herbs. You'll find globally-inspired, vegetable-focused recipes that turn a single plant into several meals - take squash, for instance. This year-round vegetable brings a variety of tastes and textures to the table:Squash Blossom and Roasted Poblano Tacos, Sicilian Squash Shoot Soup,Autumn Acorn Squash Stuffed with Kale, Cranberries, and Walnuts, andToasted Pumpkin Seeds. If you grow your own food at home, you might be surprised to learn you can eat the leaves from your pepper plants, or pickle the seed pods from your radishes.

The CSA Cookbook aims to inspire curiosity in the garden and creativity in the kitchen. You'll look at vegetables in a whole new way and think twice before you discard your kitchen "scraps"!

"One of my favorite sayings is, 'Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.' What appeals to me about this phrase is the idea that everything is useful. And that's why I like The CSA Cookbook so much. Many of Linda's dishes utilize the oft-discarded parts of vegetables such as tomato leaves, radish greens, and carrot tops. More than just being efficient, these recipes encourage us to explore the flavors and uses of every edible part of a plant. This book will completely change the way you look at vegetables." - P. Allen Smith, author of P. Allen Smith's Seasonal Recipes from the Garden

"The CSA Cookbook shows you how to use everything your vegetables offer, whether they come from your CSA or your garden. After all, why throw away what's edible when it can offer so much in the kitchen?" - Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom