Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Future Goals

I want a vegan deli. I want to greet the people who come in looking for something quick and easy to satisfy their hunger. I want to put a smile on the face of a fellow vegan that despises Subway's crappy  mutated vegetables. I want to be an owner. I go through dreams as quickly as my earth balance tub, two a week. Time is going by and I haven't decided to set my mind to one and execute it. Now is that time. 

This morning I woke up and researched small business loans. After reading through Well's Fargo's program, it seems like a fairly easy route to the financial security I need to start this thing. But a plan must be made. According to market research, each year the vegetarian population is growing. Fast food restaurants are adding veggie burgers to the menus. The demand for healthier options is expanding and I want to be a part of that. 

In NY there are plenty of delis. Italian delis, Jewish delis, and 24 hour ones. Speaking of 24 hour ones, do not visit Rocky's in Milwood, NY. This past August, I had flown to NY for a vacation. I just got off a 7+ hour flight from California and was starving. Mr.Organnix and I visited the only thing open in the middle of the night. I ordered a veggie burger sandwich, which you'd think would be no way to mess up. Let's just say, they don't call it "Rocky's" for nothing. My stomach was rocky for two days after eating there at 3am. Seriously, $10 for a crappy sandwich and food poisoning? That was not a fun start to my deli experiences. On the other hand, a great Italian deli in Chappaqua named Villarina's, made me a delicious grilled veggie wrap soaked in a balsamic dressing. That deli was friendly, quick, easy, and affordable. Plus, it was established the year I was born. =D

Anyways, enough with the story, back to the dream. I want to bring that deli culture over to the west coast and delight the people who crave easy access to healthy meals. I love to cook, prep, and talk to strangers. I love to make yummy desserts and decorate them according to the season. I enjoy a healthy, affordable meal out and others should too. I've always dreamed of having my own business but never knew what kind it would be. I've always wanted to make people happy. I studied psychology thinking I could counsel people to happiness. But the way to anyone's heart is through their tummy. They don't call them comfort foods because they feel like pillows and blankets. They make you feel warm and cozy inside. They remind you of the good times, the happy days. I  mean, what's better than serving up healthy vegan food on the run? I'd take pleasure in taking the time to put love into it so they don't have to. 

When food is served up with love and passion, you can feel it. The great energy transfers into you through each bite, making you want more. And unlike McDonald's, you don't want more because your body gets addicted to the fat and sugar. You want more because it makes you feel good all over, not just faking-out the feel-good sensors in your brain. (See: SuperSize Me)

Americans want convenience. Most of the time this means processed, unhealthy, microwaved crap. Sure some things can be microwaved and good, like Amy's frozen meals or something, but most of the time it's crap. I want health to be more accessible to all. When I ask people why they don't try a healthier option, they normally reply because it's too expensive. It doesn't taste good. It's too time consuming. I hate vegetables... Not anymore! My deli will be defined by the three words I love to use: simple, healthy, and delicious. 

The easier it is to get something that makes you look good and feel good, the better. Why is botox so popular? You look younger in 15 minutes without months of eating healthy, exercising, and juicing away your toxins. Oh so what, a prick to the forehead? At least it takes no effort. But you get the point: easy access to healthy options equals better for all. I just need to find a way to make it as affordable as possible so everyone can get a taste, not just the ritzy-ditzy, going vegan because its a trend, people. 

I also want it to appeal to people like my dad, who will go all day without eating, stop by fast food and grab a burger, and then justify the calories by saying, "At least it's the only thing I've eaten all day." I want to be able to give him that sandwich or burger for those $3, yet when it's the only thing he eats all day, it supplies him with the nutrients he has needed...not just a bunch of empty and fatty calories. Cough, Cough, Jack in the Box. 

Forget high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and enough calories for a whole day in a sandwich. And start believing in my dream of a healthier definition to fast food. Made with love, served with friendship. You know what? I like that. Interim motto established. I absolutely love nice and chatty cashiers in stop-n-go places. You're only waiting five minutes for food, but get the feeling that these people wouldn't mind sitting down and having a cup of tea with you. Totally uncritical, open-minded, artsy, imaginative, down to earth, people. I need to find a good staff!

I want to have my employees wear cute shirts like this. They won't be preaching their values like the vegan stereotype. They will be open to questions about how to get protein from legumes and plants. My staff will be happy to wake up and work, instead of dreading a hot day over the fryer.

I've got veggies on the brain, but I want them on a table satisfying the masses. I want to show people that vegetables can be delicious and filling. I want to teach others the benefits of eating vegan, even if it's just one meal a week. 

If you've got any tips, clues, hints, advice, experience, etc, then comment below. I need all the help I can get. I'm only 21 and following a very risky and exciting dream. I have a huge, huge, huge amount to learn and luckily have the time and credit score to get things done. I'll keep you posted on the plans. I hope this dream lasts longer than my Earth Balance tub that happens to be half empty. : / 

Random Halloweeny Pictures


Monday, October 24, 2011

Super Moist Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Cream Cheez

Trader Joe's samples can provide the greatest of inspiration. Everybody is circling around the snack table like vultures, guiltily going back for seconds with a sly smile on their face as they say thank you. Shopping naturally makes you hungry and it doesn't help to have the smell of warm coffee and dinner lurking around your cart. 

My last trip to TJ's resulted in a snack bar sample of their boxed pumpkin bread. They topped it with their very own dairy-full pumpkin cream cheese. Mr.Organnix loved it and had me go back for a second plate, even if I was only eating the strawberries on the side. He asked me if I could make pumpkin bread and why don't I buy the box. I told him I would make it from scratch because it's only flour and sugar in there anyway. 

So that night I pulled out my can of pumpkin, flours, and not-so-secret ingredient to make it super moist: coconut cream! I totally made this recipe up, and hoped to goodness sake it would come out moist and yummy. Well would I be posting it if it didn't? =D

I'm so proud of this pumpkin bread and cream cheese. I used my imagination and mad-scientist mind and everything came out great. Is that luck? Or am I actually starting to learn how to cook? 

Well here is the recipe. Don't hate me if you want to make it everyday. It's great for dessert and breakfast. Don't you love multi-use dishes? I do! 

Makes 1 8X8 pan 
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 Minutes
Steam: 10 minutes

What You Need
For Bread
1 C all purpose flour 
1/2 C stone ground whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 C granulated sugar
Pinch of cinnamon 
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice

2 T molasses
1 T coconut cream
1/4 C canola oil 
1/4 C vanilla coconut milk, boxed(not the canned kind)
1 C pumpkin puree

For cream cheese
5 T soy cream cheese
2 T Earth Balance
3 T agave nectar
6 T pumpkin puree (the rest of the can)
1 tsp fresh orange juice

What You Do 
  • Heat oven to 350* and grease 8X8'' pan. 
  • In a medium sized bowl mix flours, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices.
  • In a small bowl, mix together molasses, coconut cream, oil, milk, and pumpkin.
  • Fold wet ingredients into dry until incorporated. 
  • Cook for 50 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. 
  • Take out and cover with foil. Let steam for ten minutes. *This will make it super moist* 
  • Enjoy with cream cheese! 
For cream cheese
  • Cream the earth balance and cream cheese together with a fork. 
  • Slowly add in agave and pumpkin, continuing to cream with the fork. 
  • Dash in the orange juice and mix all together.
  • Enjoy on pumpkin bread, pancakes, and bagels. Yum! 

Coconut Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup

In the middle of the night I got a rush of creativity. A sense of, "I got this!" washed over me. I debated for about 2 minutes if it was too late (2am) to get up and turn on the Vitamix. I decided time didn't matter when creativity was present and so proudly entered my dark and quiet kitchen.

I pulled out my two silicone ice trays, one of coconut cream, and the other frozen vanilla coconut milk, and emptied them into my Vitamix. My fingers were frozen and needed defrosting as I plopped my big square of coconut cream and milk mixture into the the blender as well, being careful to break it apart, once again freezing my fingertips. After I defrosted myself, I turned the beast on and started to tamper with the evidence.

I started to hint a burning rubber smell and decided I was overheating my engine with all this iced milk. I took out the vanilla coconut milk and drizzled it in until the substance started churning with the engine. The scientist had begun to make its monster! A friendly, delicious, addictive monster at that. Aren't all monsters friendly in the end? "Simply misunderstood," Mr. Organnix would put it.

This monster was coconut ice cream. After drizzling in the milk, I added guar gum to get it homogenized. After adding in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, the beast had officially finished labor. Why do I always reference babies? I had my new, easy, homemade ice cream! Success! I knew this 2am creative wave wasn't merely a sweet tooth. I didn't even have that much of it when I was done. I just wanted to make it.

After making the ice cream and placing it back in the freezer, I didn't want to drag myself to bed to watch some crappy comedy sitcom. I needed to create more.

I took out my cacao powder and agave nectar and stared them down. "You will be sauce! Chocolate sauce for my espresso and ice cream!" I yelled at them in my head. (I know what you're thinking and yes, I'm crazy. Insane, to be exact.) I heated up a small rice bowl of agave (about 1/2 cup) and beat in the cacao powder until creamy. I bottled it up in my nifty squirt bottle and had the hamster (Mr.Organnix) taste it. His approval went through the roof, over my smile, and into the soon-to-be born Mocha Macchiatos. Another success in less than 30 minutes.

Do you hate paying $5-7 for vegan ice cream? I do. I think it is ridiculous how expensive it is. After making this recipe, I doubt I will return to buying it. So far I've added in melted chocolate chips for fudge, sugar cookies, and even pumpkin bread to this coconut-vanilla base. You can create all the fun ice cream flavors at home, even cookie dough. After making this cheap and easy recipe you won't be going back to that carton either.
Ice Cream Components
What You Need
Prep time: Over night
Assembly time: 20 minutes
Makes: One ziploc container full, seen above

Ice Cream
1/2 cup+one small ice trays Coconut Cream
1 cup+one small ice tray Coconut Milk, vanilla, boxed
Extra Coconut milk for drizzling in vitamix (1-2 cups)
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar, sifted for clumps
2 1/2 tsp Guar Gum

Chocolate Sauce (Not pictured) 
1/2 cup Agave Nectar
Raw Cacao Powder

What You Do
For Ice Cream
  • Freeze coconut milk and cream in a shallow ziploc container and ice trays over night. 
  • Plop all iced milk into vitamix, drizzling in coconut milk until blending well. *It will not blend without the extra milk because it is all ice!* 
  • Use tamper to mix and smash ice cream as needed. Set blender to variable 1 or low.
  • Slowly shake powdered sugar into mixture. 
  • Very slowly add in guar gum, one teaspoon at a time. *If you don't do it slow enough, the gum will ball up.*
  • Blend until creamy! 
For sauce
  • The powder amount will vary depending on how chocolate-y you like your sauce. 
  • Start by placing 1/2 cup agave into a microwave safe bowl. 
  • Heat for 15 seconds, or until warm. Microwaves vary! 
  • Slowly incorporate the cacao powder, one tablespoon at a time. 
  • Beat with a fork until smooth. 
  • Taste as you add each spoon, to be sure how dark you want it. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Italian Cheezy Mac

Growing up with a family of six, my mom had to whip up an easy, quick dinner that all could enjoy. I remember her making macaroni and adding in sliced hotdogs. I loved the meaty taste along with the milky cheese. I attempted to recreate that in a vegan, healthy style this week. 

Mr.Organnix loves his sausage. Bring home a hot keilbasa and you'll win over his heart. As I was shopping around Mother's Market and thinking of my love, I saw Field Roast Italian sausage. I normally wouldn't buy the faux meats but this company is highly rated among vegan chefs so I thought I'd give it a chance. I would usually make my macaroni with Daiya cheese because it is easy and gives it that great gooey, cheesy texture. 

I've been experimenting with nutritional yeast in many recipes, including nacho cheese, peanut butter cups, and tofu scramble. I've seen other bloggers make this cheese sauce for broccoli and thought why not try it in a mac and cheese? 

I made it the same way I made the nacho cheese, but this time added more butter and soy milk. I wanted it more like a sauce than a dip, but should have stuck to the original recipe. Adding extra water and milk not only thinned out the sauce, but the flavor as well. 

The sausage made this dish. I grilled it up in some garlic olive oil along side some panko bread crumbs. The mac and cheese would not have been tasty without these two. I'm not going to post the recipe because it's not worth making again, but the idea of putting the sausage in is worth trying. 

The bread crumbs almost give you the bacon bits flavor that some people love.  I don't buy them though because they're made from hydrolyzed soy and corn, which is not healthy. Hydrogen is not an ingredient I can imagine in my food. 

My suggestion for a great mac and cheese is:
  • Melt 1 bag daiya with some non-dairy milk and earth balance.
  • Cover an 8x8 pan of cooked pasta with the sauce and stir. 
  • Cover the cheesy pasta with panko bread crumbs. 
  • Spray with oil. 
  • Cook at 375* until bread crumbs are browned and crispy. 
    • If you want the meaty add-in, pan fry the sliced sausage while your pasta is cooking and add in before the sauce.
Simple. Healthy. Delicious. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vitamix Spinach Dip

I don't remember the last time I had spinach dip. I've been lactose intolerant since 15, so I haven't had anything remotely creamy and delicious as this. Every holiday dinner there is this big bread bowl with spinach dip and I always have to pass. Not anymore! I've got my own vegan version with yummy garlic and rosemary bread to boot. This makes me happy. :)

This is the first recipe I have made from the Vitamix cookbook. All the other things that have been through it so far, I've churned straight out of my memory or imagination. I've never really been a fan of cooked spinach. The look and sour taste always got to me as a kid, so I have eaten it fresh or juiced since. Today I traveled back to that childhood dinner where I would play with the green goop and made it yummy. It was simple and a quick route to an appetizer before dinner tonight.

What You Need
16 oz (1 bag) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup light mayonaise
3/4 cup Tofutti sour cream
1 slice lemon, seeded and peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Dash of salt and pepper
Makes about 2 cups

What You Do 

  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • Thaw your spinach on the counter or in the microwave on defrost for 5 minutes. 
  • Drain in a strainer, pushing down with a paper towel to get all the excess liquid out. 
  • Place all ingredients in the Vitamix and turn to variable 1 for 15 seconds.
  • Turn to variable 4 and use tamper to mix everything together. 
  • After all is mixed and creamy, about 3 minutes, take out and pour into a baking dish. 
  • Cook for 25 minutes. 
Enjoy with garlic or rosemary bread. I used a sourdough roll from Trader Joe's.

  • Butter all bread slices with Earth Balance. 
  • Top with garlic pepper and paprika for garlic bread. 
  • Top with rosemary and paprika for rosemary bread. 
Use your favorite spices and get creative.
Suggestions: oregano, dill, basil

What is your favorite appetizer during the holidays?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

These are amazing. There cannot be enough pictures of them because of how delicious they are. Enjoy the food porn. I adapted this recipe from Peas and Thank You. I love her blog and highly recommend it. The only difference I made in the recipe was using all-purpose wheat flour instead of the mix, and took out the peanut butter chips because I couldn't find vegan ones. 

Who doesn't love cookies and milk? My last post was about a cookies n' cream ice cream and so it was natural for me to make the real thing next. I can officially say this is my new go-to cookie recipe. By the time I balled these up and got them in the oven, my stomach hurt from how much sugary dough I had consumed...and I still couldn't stop. 

Seriously, I'm warning you. You will LOVE these cookies. If you were that kid who would eat the chocolate chip cookie dough right out of the tube, you may not even bother cooking these. You'll give up on the idea of letting the dough out of your site and completely demolish it right there and then. No eggs, no worries...except gaining a pound in 15 minutes. We can run it off later, right? 

What is your favorite type of cookie?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cookies N' Cream Milkshake

I love cookies n' cream ice cream. I used to read this blog called Chocolate Covered Katie that would have almost every recipe use her Vitamix, so I went back to it after I got mine. The reason I left it  was because the recipes looked beautiful but never came out tasting good. It was very...off. So I thought I'd give it a chance one more time. 
I looked up her ice cream recipes and it said to freeze almond milk in a shallow dish with a little sweetener, then pop the blocks in the vitamix and you will have ice cream. This is false information. This gives you an iced milk, which is extremely icy and doesn't even ball up and get creamy like ice cream.

I had to take matters into my own hands. I froze soy milk, coconut yogurt, boxed coconut milk, and agave in a glass ziploc dish. Two days later I popped that in my vitamix with a couple teaspoons of guar gum (a natural thickener) and it came out soooo good! It was definitely oh-my-gosh good. I added in 6 Peanut Butter Newman-O's to kick it into over drive. I could have just eaten it with a spoon, but Mr. Organnix wanted a milkshake, so I added in extra coconut milk and gave it a whirl. We both enjoyed our desserts with a straw and cookie on top. :)

I didn't measure out anything so I can't give you a recipe just yet. I will be making this again soon and adjusting things here and there, so a recipe is on it's way. I started this by trying to make vanilla ice cream...but then got all Nixie on it and turned it crazy. haha.

If you have a vitamix or ice cream maker, I would suggest having some fun and experimenting with different frozen milks! The experience and end product are very rewarding.

What is your favorite ice cream or milkshake flavor?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chocolate Chip Corn Bread

I have a sweet tooth. Not an itty bitty, sometimes craving sweets, sweet tooth, but a large, in charge, fat kid inside sweet tooth. I will put agave nectar and chocolate on anything possible. Don't judge me.
As I was licking the sweet leftover corn bread dough off the rubber spatula I thought, "this should be dessert." I had about two ramekins left of the dough and knew I couldn't just eat it with a fork all night. Today I followed through with this fatty idea and came across a new favorite: Chocolate Chip Corn Bread.

After I took my first bite I was like, "hmm this needs something." I then proceeded to cover it in Earth Balance and Trader Joe's vanilla coconut milk (the boxed kind). The bread soaked it right up and made it super moist, like when you dip a chocolate chip cookie in milk until it's practically falling apart. Mmm so good!

As I sit here and munch down on this beautiful dessert feeling like a piggy, I justify it by saying, "I'll be doing cardio in an hour. I need these carbs." Oh the joys of a workout schedule for excuses. Tony Horton says abs are made in the kitchen. I may be vegan, working out 6 days a week, and a health nut, but if my abs were made in the kitchen I'd have a 12-pack right now. I'm in there all day cooking up a storm, licking spoons, and drinking fresh juices.

Speaking of piggies, I went to a petting zoo last weekend. It made me giddy to pet the animals but sad because they were all tired. The best part was these black baby pigs that were so friendly. Mr.Organnix and I took affectionately to this one pig who was all about the attention. I started rubbing his belly and he flopped over and closed his eyes. We practically fell in love with this little guy and wanted to take him home.

Once I got to my humble abode I couldn't help but google pigs. I found this site about Micro-Nano-Teacup pigs that only grew to the size of a chihuahua! I was like holy crap, I want one of these. I can't get them out of my head and have decided the moment I move into a house with a yard, one of those tiny pigs will be my first addition. I just hope my dog will get along with it! If you've never seen of these guys, you have to see it. Here's a cute video of one with an actress:

What You Need
Bob's Corn Bread Mix
oil or melted margarine
flax eggs
chocolate chips

What You Do

  • Prepare corn bread mix according to package. 
  • Add in chocolate chips. 
  • Pour into ramekins or cake pan. 
  • Cook for 25 minutes at 375*.
  • After cooked, take out and place on top of oven. 
  • Pour boxed vanilla coconut milk over ramekins or pan until it fills up to the edges. 
  • Poke holes where the milk is so that it absorbs to the bottom.
  • Let soak into bread until cool. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

3 Ingredient Vegan Caramel

After making this recipe for the third time, I was convinced I must bottle it and sell it immediately. I was going to post that there is nothing like it on the market and not give you the recipe...but that is no longer true. Since the first time I've made it, someone has beat me to the punch. I may have very well gone through with a production line if nobody had done it, but of course the world is always one step ahead. Our friends at FreshFoods have it here if you're really too lazy to make this super easy recipe, but the ingredients aren't posted so I'm not sure what's in it. And it's not sold at Whole Foods or any other health food store in a 15 mile radius from me. Best bet? Make my recipe!

It can be used in your favorite coffee drinks, top any of your favorite pies, or even just be warmed up for your freshly cut apples. This caramel is the shit (I never curse) and your life will never be the same after making it.

Do you ever go to Starbucks and want a caramel macchiato but you can't have the caramel sauce because it's made with cream and milk? Now you can do it at home! Save some bucks and use this sauce in your homemade macchiato (recipe coming soon).

What You Need
Equal parts of:
Earth Balance
Soy milk (or any unsweetened non-dairy milk)
Agave Nectar

Sauce pan

What You Do 

  • Place earth balance and milk into sauce pan on medium-low heat. 
  • Whisk until all the Earth Balance is melted into the milk.
  • Add agave nectar and whisk in. 
  • Keep stirring for 20-30 minutes on medium heat.
  • Your sauce will start to bubble up on the sides and almost get a little foamy in the middle. This is good!
  • Make sure to scrape the sides of the pot with your whisk as you go around. 
  • You can stir slowly or stop for a few minutes if you get tired, just make sure it doesn't bubble over. 
  • After 20-30 minutes, take the caramel off the heat. 
  • Place into a heat-safe airtight container. Do NOT use plastic. I use glass.
  • Refrigerate!
  • Your done!
Use warm as caramel sauce on ice creams, pies, cookies, brownies. Or like me just eat it with a spoon. I even put it on oatmeal! 

If you want caramel candies, use a non-plastic mold, cupcake liners, or anything that has the shape you want, and freeze. I placed some of mine in a cupcake liner, froze it for about ten minutes so it was pliable, and then placed it into a small sheet of plastic wrap. Twist the ends and you've got a soft caramel candy. Refrigerate to keep it's shape.

I used 1/3 cup of each tonight, but you can double it, triple it, or even quadruple it because as soon as it's gone, you will want more. Tomorrow I am buying a clear squeeze bottle just to house my new caramel.

Place in a squeeze bottle on your counter for easy access...or in the back of your cupboard because it will be gone in one day if left in sight.

  • Vegan 
  • Gluten-Free
  • Processed Sugar Free
  • No Corn Syrup 
  • No Cream
  • Low Glycemic Index
  • Versatile
    • Can be: soy-free and nut-free
    • Can be made into solid caramel candies
    • Can be used in cookies, pies, cakes
  • When you run out you want more
  • Addicting 
Edit: If you want your caramel pliable and like candy, use less soy milk and cook longer until thick.