Tag Archives: vegan

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup (Vegan!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CampbellSavings #CollectiveBias

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You may find it surprising that, although I am a PhD student in English, there are plenty of commonplace words that I would not be able to define for you. Most recently, I heard a word that I had not heard in a very long time – about four years, actually – and that seemed like a ghostly echo from some long forgotten past.

The word: summer.

Can you please use that word in a sentence? 

“In ancient times, the period between two academic semesters, when occurring during the months of June, July, and August, was known as summer vacation.

“Of course, recent empirical studies conducted by a reputable PhD student in English Literature and her colleagues have demonstrated that the notion of “summer vacation” is purely mythical.”

I’m guessing 90% of you out there know that feeling. As the awesome lady of manners Maggie Smith once famously asked: “Wh-what is a weekend?”

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Summer may be in full swing for most of the educational world, but here in Grad School Land, every minute not spend researching dissertation materials is either spetd worrying about not spending enough time researching dissertation materials, or girding our loins for the Back-to-School teaching curriculum that, lo and behold, is only two months away. Now somebody tell me, WHEN AND HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

And I don’t want to hear any Interstellar jokes, okay?

Just the other day, I was mulling over the prospect of starting another school year and started doodling up a list in my notebook. (Note: I love love love making lists!) After jotting down a few thoughts, I realized what I was writing and scribbled a huge title across the top of the page:

<10 Things I Absolutely Do Not Want to Do After Getting Home from a Long Day at School!> <– “Work” also works.… Read more

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Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian

Grilled Vegetable & Veggie Burger Naan-wich

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GrillWithATwist #CollectiveBias

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It’s summer! It’s hot! It’s grill time! It’s summer! It’s hot! It’s grill time! It’s summer! It’s…time for a summer-spired story ♪

As a vegetarian, I never used to be a big fan of grilling. Most of my friends never quite know what to do with me when it comes to the good ol’ summer BBQ: “You’re vegetarian,” they’d say, “but is sausage okay?” or “I know you don’t eat meat, but does fish count?”

These are legitimate questions, since there are a lot of different denominations of “vegetarian” floating around these days. For the record, I’ve been 97% meatless for going on four years now–the 3% I reserve for special cultural occasions in which family is involved, because there are just some traditions I’m not willing to give up. I eat eggs and consume dairy products, but about half of my meals are actually vegan (no meat, eggs, OR dairy), and later this month M & I are going to try a week of veganism together! All in all, I’ve learned a lot over the past few years about sustainable, nutritious eating, and I’m pretty satisfied with how far I’ve been able to come since I first laid my eager paws on Michael Pollan’s wonderful book, In Defense of Food.

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Luckily, as the years have gone by and our friend groups back home have expanded, we’ve introduced a few more vegetarians and vegans into our midst, which means that our gatherings are a lot more dietary-need-conscious nowadays. Most of the time we’ll opt for potlucks so that everyone can bring and enjoy something, which is fantastic because then our spreads end up looking like this:

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So colorful and fresh! I’d like to take partial credit for being a good influence ;)

Since I was traveling a lot and didn’t have much time to prep a dish, I decided to bring a good ol’ everyone-friendly veggie patty from one of my favorite go-tos, MorningStar Farms.… Read more

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Filed under Healthy, Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian

Extra Easy Hummus

The following post has nothing to do with hummus, and it certainly isn’t “extra easy” for me to talk about. I’ll share the recipe for this hummus at the bottom of the post, as usual, so feel free to skip the rest and scroll down if you’re looking for it. If, however, you read on and have any insight to share, please do. Writing from a dark place, I could use the perspective right now.

(Edit: I am SO sorry about the timing of this post. I was writing it from a musty hotel room over the weekend and it honestly didn’t even occur to me that it was Father’s Day until the post went live. I love my daddy to bits and I hope to write him a proper post of appreciation later this week :) until then, these are some immediate thoughts that I hope won’t be a damper. But I’d still love to hear your thoughts ASAP!)

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In recent years, I have learned the hard way that trust is not something that stands on a solid foundation built from words, assurances, contrition, or even years of trust-building. Instead, it teeters at the edge of a narrow, misshapen precipice, whose sharp point inexplicably–perhaps even miraculously–holds up the imbalanced weight that it bears, so that it seems always on the verge of toppling when the breeze of Doubt blows by–as Doubt will, on some sad occasions with more pertinacity than others.

With parents in particular, this precipice is a tricky one to travel, and one always has the feeling that a misstep will not only cause the entire structure of trust to crumble, but to cast one into a dark void of purposelessness and intense self-hatred that cannot be occasioned by anyone else. Those of us who are lucky enough to have loving parents know that we are born into a system of trust–that we begin, essentially, possessing one or more other beings’ trust without having earned a shred of it, unless you count the act of being genetically (or adoptively) related to someone “earning.” With every subsequent human encounter in our lives, we work hard to foster and maintain that trust–but a parent-child relationship is, for better or for worse, one that begins with a blind willingness to believe in someone we have only just come to know.… Read more

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Filed under Appetizers, Dips/Spreads, Healthy, Homemade/DIY, Lunch & Dinner, Snacks, Vegetarian

Roasted Broccoli + Sweet Potato Black Rice Bowl with Sesame Miso Dressing { #VegFlavorBible Giveaway! }

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Whether you’re a long-standing vegetarian (or vegan!), or just someone who loves cooking and hunting for the perfect flavors to accompany your colorful dinner table, you’re going to love the book I’m sharing with you all today. When Karen + Andrew reached out and asked if I wanted to use, review, and give away a copy of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, I pounced on the opportunity like Simba nailed Zazu during that memorable scene from The Lion King.

Vegetarian? Flavors? The BIBLE of all things vegetarian flavored? COUNT ME IN.

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Have you ever been stumped when it comes to cooking that ingredient you bought on a random whim–expecting to use it every single day of your glorious kitchen life–and have never even touched? (cough my former relationship to tahini cough) That’s me like, 99% of the time. I’m a total impulse shopper, so often I buy fabulous fresh produce from the farmer’s market, tuck it away in my fridge, and it never sees the light of day again until it’s on the point of going bad and I just steam the crap out of it. You can imagine how often I have guests over for dinner…

With Karen + Andrew’s new cookbook, though, I’ve been seriously whizzing through my produce this month. Not only am I inspired to cook more often–I’m also inspired to try out new (and guaranteed awesome) flavor profiles that help me take full advantage of my stocked (but usually untouched) pantry!

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One of my favorite inspired dishes was this roasted broccoli + sweet potato black rice bowl with sesame miso dressing. It’s got to be one of the best vegetarian meals I have cooked up in a very long time, not least of all because the deep flavors of the black rice complement the nutty sesame, salty miso, and bright roasted broccoli so darn well.… Read more

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Filed under Healthy, Lunch & Dinner, Rice, Vegetarian

The BIG Blog THANK YOU { + peanut butter chocolate rice krispies-smothered jumbo marshmallows }

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareYourSummer #CollectiveBias

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The post you’re about to read to me is SUPER near and dear to my heart in many ways, mostly because it features two of my DEAREST friends, fans, and unconditional supporters (who you’ll be meeting today, yeee!). What’s more, today’s post is a rare chance for me to put my blogging overdrive on pause and say a BIG thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to the people who have meant the most to me throughout this amazing blogging journey: yep, that’s all of you!

An Introduction to the SUPPORT (SUPer ImPORTant) Team: Behind every blogger is a critical SUPPORT–or SUPer ImPORTant people–system. Whether this consists of the entire food blogging community or just your mom, blogging is never a solitary activity. It takes a lot of dedication to update your Instagram account every day at 6 AM with #frappuccino, photograph everyone’s food every time you go out to a restaurant, and hurl your kitchen into a tornado disaster zone on a semiweekly basis only to clean it up again right away because the clouds set in and all of your hard work is no longer photograph-worthy. Sure, who doesn’t admit that we’ve got our work cut out for us?

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Cheering squad at the annual Edible Book Festival

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In Vancouver 2014, meeting Nancy, the wonderful, lovely, multi-talented lady behind Gotta Get Baked

But when you’re the person who has to put up with the person who does all of this loco stuff on the regular, like most of my friends and family do, it takes much more than time: it takes patience, enthusiasm, and a genuine willingness to put your faith in the fact that your friend is not perhaps just a crazy loon whose life goal is to give every single person around her onset diabetes.… Read more

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Filed under Cookies

Vegan Walnut Fudge {Raw + Gluten-Free}

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I know I promised to share “something juicy” with you in Monday’s blog post about these awesome cookies. That just goes to show two things: that a) I probably shouldn’t make promises I don’t have a mind to keep, and b) for future reference, you probably shouldn’t trust me when I say I’m going to tell you something juicy. I didn’t even have time to blend a fruity drink and present it to you as a punny example of my exceptionally dry humor.

So nothin’ juicy today. Just me and this fudge that disappeared in about 30 minutes when I took it to the office this morning…

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The funny thing about this Vegan Walnut Fudge is that it actually turned out to be a total accident and delicious failure–if you can call addictingly healthified fudge a failure. This year it turns out that one of my nicest students is allergic to basically every edible substance known to my kitchen: gluten, soy, dairy, strawberries, grapes, corn, beans, apples–the works.

You can believe that when I heard this news during that first day of classes, I was utterly mortified. That shock, however, soon transformed into a (slightly perverse?) excitement about rising to the challenge. Hold my wine glass and let me roll up my sleeves, Marty-O, because this gal’s about to do a crazy one in the kitchen!

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The intervening weeks have been filled with tons of crazy experimentation, tons of label-checking and Googling, and an unprecedented intimacy with allergy-free and dietary-friendly ingredients I had never touched. Did you know that baking soda is pretty solidly gluten-free, but that some baking powders do contain gluten products? Or that peanut butter can be made with soy? Or that certain brands of powdered sugar also include unexpected additives such as cornstarch?

Because this fudge contains powdered sugar and my student is allergic to corn, I couldn’t very well serve it up, meaning I had spent an entire afternoon carefully dancing around with this recipe for nothing.… Read more

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Filed under Brownies & Chocolates, Healthy

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies Oreo Brownies (Vegan) + PB&Co. Giveaway

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Fact: Everyone else’s life looks cooler than yours.

Did you just get a promotion at your accounting firm? Congratulations! Your former classmate just got bumped up to CEO of a high-profile tech company that makes life-saving microchip nanobots.

Also, that dorky kid whom you all made fun of in high school is now happily married with a newborn on the way and wedding pictures that make you want to drown your face in your toilet bowl. Meanwhile you are blasting Hunter Hayes’ “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” on repeat and devouring a tub of cookie dough ice cream like your life depends on it.

If you’re me, you’re also watching that wonderful 1999 movie “Never Been Kissed” featuring 25-year old journalist Josie Gellar (played by Drew Barrymore opposite the extremely dreamy Michael Vartan) and wondering vaguely to yourself if you’ll feel quite so warmly about this movie when you’ve gotten beyond 25 and are, alas, still very much a chronically romance-challenged Josie Grossie.

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Fact: You are 99.9% convinced everyone else’s life IS cooler than yours.

Fortunately, this “fact” confirms one thing for you: you’re certainly not alone in this feeling. While you’re busy hovering jealously over your friend’s newly published YA novel, somebody else is contemplating whether or not to Like your recent post about your new blog. Maybe they do decide to Like it, and you would never know the full 10 minutes of internal struggle that went into that seemingly simple choice.

Would it seem creepy to Like this, considering I haven’t actually spoken to them in four years? your brain asks in torment. Do I want to endorse their coolness? Would doing so make me feel worse about myself in comparison?

The wonderful Nancy from Gotta Get Baked, for whom I have immense respect and love (she is one amazing cookie), called my attention not too long ago to an article on this very topic.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

1-Minute Coconut Granola for Two (No-Bake)

Okay, so deal: why am I baking making granola for two when I’m only one?

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No, I’m not preggers, you sick Sherlocks, I know who you are and this isn’t a British teledrama episode called The Sign of Three.1-minute Coconut Granola 4--102614It’s the start of a new swim season around these parts, where outdoor pools reign supreme and the scent of chlorine wafts off my saturated skin in noxious waves. Our greatest fear is that winter is coming and heaven forbid the temperature drops below a chilly 68 degrees at night.

So naturally, I’m following Manatee Survival Rule #1 and storing up body fat for the winter months. Duh.

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Life has a funny way of crumpling all our life plans into a wad of week-old newspaper and chucking it in a whole new direction. I started swimming when I was 3, but it wasn’t until 9th grade–right after I quit my competitive swim club–that I actually fell in love with swimming as a sport.  As luck would have it, I failed to make the school volleyball team (in hindsight, a good thing) and then I got cut from soccer tryouts (a very good thing–I loved playing soccer, but oh dem soccer Mean Girls), so I ended up in normal-people fourth-period PE instead.

Gym was–there’s no way to say it nicely–a waste of time. I was an athletic kid in a pool of floundering, I-don’t-do-movement types–literally. During our swim unit, they forced us to stand in the shallow end of the pool and swim across the short length of the pool, which is like asking a cheetah to sprint across a sandbox. Not that I’m a cheetah, because then cross-country would probably have wanted me and that’d be a whole different story, but you get the point.

And in that lackluster, dingy family pool was where I first met Mike

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Mike found me as I was streamlining underwater.… Read more

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Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy

Raw Salted Chocolate Chip Oat Healthy Bars for #SundaySupper

I dare you to tell me this is “just another healthy oat bar” recipe. I triple dog dare you, and if you lose, I will bite the head off a hapless gingerbread man (is it almost that time of the year already? Sigh).

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Apart from the mumbled ooh’s and aah’s these bars received when I brought them to my friends’ houses, this healthy snack alternative just knocked my socks off. I was messing around with the food processor last week because it’s been a solid 98 degrees all week here. Living in perpetual beautiful summertime may not sound like a problem, but it is indeed a problem.

A big, fat Californian first-world problem. Try hashtagging that. 

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I expected “good,” I expected “delicious”–but I did not expect these.

I anticipated “love ‘em!”, I anticipated “yum!”–but I did not anticipate this.

I did not know there would be violent voices in my head screaming at me after I tasted these, “EAT THEM ALL BEFORE THE REDCOATS COME OR WE WILL KEEL YOU.”

And really, who am I to disobey?

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The most gorgeous thing about these bars (if one could pick) is that they taste like honest-to-goodness no other oat cookie/granola bar I’ve ever made before. The oat base is slightly salty and leaves this unexpected coconutty taste (from the coconut oil) in your mouth that makes you suspect they’ve started flavoring crack with essence of coconut these days. The bars are studded with chunks of dark chocolate (always a good move) and a great salty balance of pretzel chunks, which add awesome texture to the bars. And they’re vegan, GF, raw, and completely date-sweetened, which means

the fact that I gobbled up an entire pan in one sitting

is also like a merit or something.

Almost.

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I’m thinking granola bowl, served with vanilla soy milk or–better yet–sweetened coconut milk.… Read more

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Filed under Bars, Healthy

Healthy Salted Caramel Apple Bars for #studentbloggers

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Thanks so much to everyone who has joined us for this #studentbloggers series. This is our final installment (for now, at least) as the school year revs into gear. See you guys on the other side, and don’t forget to check out all these incredibly TALENTED bloggers who have participated!

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(See our interviews from Week 1 and Week 2.)

QUESTION 1. Let’s be honest: how much time do you spend on schoolwork/research vs. the blog?

Ala: I treat school like a full-time job…and it is one! I still spend a good chunk of time every night blogging though (anywhere from 20-30 hours a week), and my friends think I’m crazy for doing it because I insist on having a social life as well. That leaves me with some scary number of hours of sleep…you can do the math.

Bec: Majority of the week is spent a) procrastinating and b) mentally and physically stopping the procrastination/procrastibaking c) attempting to smash out Uni work

Nicole: In all honestly – about 60 % research, 40 % blog (but I do spend almost my entire weekends and lots of evenings solely on blog work)

Shelley:  Schoolwork comes first ;) I’ll blog when I have the time!

Zainab: I am ashamed to answer this just in case my PI sees this one day. But in a 24 hour day, I think 9 goes to schoolwork and the rest the blog. Just so much goes into blogging and being new at it, the learning curve is steep so it’s sucking lots of hours of my day. With research, I am very efficient at this point. I get to lab in the morning and can hammer out my experiments pretty quickly. I try to do most of all I need to do there (9-6.30pm) and most times once I leave lab, I leave it all there.… Read more

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Filed under Bars, Blogger Series, Fruit Desserts, Healthy