Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

Move over, Reese's. I'm pretty sure Heaven is real, and it's located inside my mouth at the place where the taste of peanut butter and chocolate collide.

My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

I've seen a few vegan PB Cup recipes make the rounds, and will probably try some others, but my non-vegan housemates and I were over the moon with these. The recipe calls for only 4 ingredients: raw organic peanut butter, coconut oil (available EVERYwhere these days), agave, and cacao powder. In a flash of inspiration I also added a little pink Himalayan sea salt on top.

Here is the link to the recipe:

Some notes:
   *Use a whisk to mix the bowls.
   *The pb will mix right in with the oil, so no need to soften it.
   *I used mini cupcake liners to make these a calorie-conscious size. The recipe yields 9-10 minis.
   *I also used a mini muffin tin to hold them but if you do not own such an extravagance, freeze them in an ice-cube tray.
   *I froze the pb layer a little before adding the cacao layer.
   *These are the best things in the history of ever. Seriously better than the processed candy crud from the store.

Enjoy!  X

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My New Car!

Oh happy day!!!!!!
Here she is, my brand new 2014 Subaru Forester, Moby:

My Instagram: @veganlifeisgood

I'm proud to own one of the greenest cars available. The Forester is a leader in partial-zero emission vehicles. PZEVs produce at least 90% emissions than standard new cars, which means that in smoggy cities the exhaust from the tailpipe is cleaner than the outside air! They are often cleaner than hybrids or alternative-fuel vehicles.

On top of that, I love the spaciousness, the cargo room, all the high-tech gadgets to explore on my wheel and dashboard, and the gorgeous pearl-white color that gave Moby her name. I'll get some pictures and a more detailed review up soon. Once I get tired of driving around my town in circles...

More info on PZEVs and California's low-emission standards:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Simple 2 Ingredient Juices, Part 1: Cancer Fighters

My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

Energizing Ratio: 2 carrots to 1/2 cup fresh parsley. Push the parsley through your juicer with a carrot. It's wicked delicious.

Why carrots? Everyone's heard the expression about an apple a day, but did you know a carrot a day would cut the rate of lung cancer in half???* Or that our beloved orange carrots are a cultivated mutation, and were originally almost exclusively purple or black in color?  
Tip: When juicing carrots, avoid the greens, which can lead to rash or heighten chances of sunburn.

Why parsley? Parsley is dismissed as a garnish when it is actually a nutrient powerhouse. Eating or juicing parsley after ingesting fried foods inhibits their dangerous cancer-causing properties, so instead of ignoring that sprig on your plate, ask for more! You'll be doing your health a huge favor. Parsley is a natural nerve stimulant and a great source of energy, so much so that many people use the recipes like the one above to replace coffee.
Tip: Revive wilting parsley in some cold H20.


My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

Delicious Ratio: 2 oranges per 1/2 grapefruit. Do peel your citrus, but leave as much of the white spongy part as possible.

Why grapefruit? This has been a long-time weight-loss favorite, as it is low cal while also lowering cholesterol and demonstrating anti-cancer effects. A cool and kind of magical thing about grapefruit is that it normalizes your hematocrit levels (the volume of red blood cells): too low hematocrit = anemia, while too high = heart disease. Grapefruit balances both of these, depending on what your body requires.
Tip: Avoid grapefruit that feels too soft or has green-colored skin.

Why oranges? Well, the memo on oranges containing Vitamin C probably won't surprise anyone. But it's actually the combination of Vitamin C with an orange's abundant flavonoids that really strengthen immunity and support connective tissue in the body. Oranges are another winner in preventing and fighting cancer.
Tip: Many people like to prove the prowess of their juicer by chucking in the whole orange, peel and all. Please don't! Even though citrus peels contain beneficial oils, those same oils will antagonize bodily functions and even inhibit the uptake of the fruits' other precious nutrients.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of "Simple 2 Ingredient Juices!"

*Much of the information in this post comes from the book The Complete Book of Juicing, which I own and love, and highly recommend for anyone interested in the recipes, health benefits, and nutritional information of juices. Here's the Amazon link:
The Complete Book of Juicing
I am in no way compensated for recommending this book, or anything else I post.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

(Raw) Vegan Ice Cream & PBJ Sundae

This is a not-so-well-kept vegan secret that many of you may know already. My roomie, who does Crossfit and is not a vegan, had a similar recipe up on our fridge before I moved in. Everyone seems to have their own version, but they all have one thing in common-
If you didn't know that, Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, here you go:

Basic Vegan Ice Cream, 2 Ways

1. Raw Ice Cream:
  • As many bananas as you want
  • A bit of water or homemade nut milk of your choice
2. Non-Raw Version:
  • As many bananas as you want
  • Store-bought nut milk of your choice (almond, sunflower, etc etc)
Both recipes essentially work the same. First, cut your bananas into smaller pieces and put them in a tupperware in the freezer. Don't just stick whole bananas in there, it will be very difficult and gross getting the frozen peel off later (and yes, I know because I did it wrong the first time!). After a few hours when they are good and frozen, put them in a blender. They may need help getting out of the container, a zap in the microwave if your container is safe, or carefully use a utensil to coax them out. This is another reason you cut them up.
Blend 'em up with a teeny bit of liquid, just enough to get your blender to mix it all, because the liquid will take away from the ice cream consistency if you add very much.
Enjoy on the spot or store it in the tupperware for later use. I'm not sure how long it lasts but since you are using a fresh ingredient it won't be hard to tell if its gone bad!!**

And now!:
My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

Raw Vegan Banana Peanut Butter and Jelly Sundae:
Follow recipes 1 or 2 as written above, but add peanut butter to the blender step. Dish into a bowl with a cookie scoop.
Meanwhile, blend up your favorite fresh berries, on their own or with a touch of agave. Drizzle it over your ice cream and add some fresh fruit to top!

**If you are storing your ice cream, I recommend adding an ingredient like the peanut butter because if the bananas start to oxidize and turn a darker color it is more appetizing to think of it as being peanut butter-colored than "bad banana color."

Yes, this is good for you! GET on the train to loving your beautiful fruit carbs and you'll never want for regular ice cream again! MMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmm!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Corn Salsa Lettuce Wraps

Yesterday I posted my super healthy and yummy mango salsa recipe. I must be on a salsa kick, because to day I bring you one better:

My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

Vegan Corn Salsa Wraps w/ Romaine "Chips"

  • Romaine leaves, washed and separated, plus I chop a few up into "chip size" pieces for dipping
  • Fresh raw corn sliced from 1 ear
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 1 avocado, cubed or mashed*
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice, to taste
  • Salt to taste (optional)
  • Cayenne to taste (optional)

Combine everything in a bowl. *I cubed the avocado for looks, but it honestly holds a wrap better if you mash it! Spoon onto lettuce leaves or use the small, crispier romaine pieces to dip like chips.

Note: If you are not concerned about eating raw food, adding some hot sauce to this might float your boat. This is another crowd-pleaser and a great vegan "show-off" dish, so go for it if you've got a BBQ or party on the horizon!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Easy Spicy Mango Salsa

One of the joys of moving to a bigger house has been entertaining more company. I love having people over and practicing my vegan recipes on them! This one is great for summer BBQs or as an appetizer for game night:

My Instagram: @veganlifeisgood

Spicy Mango Salsa

  • 1-2 ripe mangos, peeled then cubed
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeno
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced in long, thin strips then minced
  • chopped fresh cilantro to taste (I use about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, minced
Although this can be thrown together quickly, I like to make it a few hours ahead of serving if I can and let the flavors marinate in the fridge. The last time I made this it tasted a million times better the next day than when I'd served it the night before!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Kick(box) Cancer's Ass

Hey! I posted about this on Instagram and thought people might want more info:

My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

This Wednesday my friend Billy is putting on ANOTHER benefit cardio-kickboxing class for cancer. He did one in March to raise money for Jeremy Montes Jr, a local high school student who is battling Leukemia, and now he is doing one for our friend Mike, a survivor of leukemia who is doing a triathlon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Here is the link to Billy's homepage with info about the fundraiser and his awesome ckb classes:
Herbivore Athletics Homepage
And here also is the homepage for Jeremy, who is still fighting and needing support!:

I entered the photo above in an Instagram contest about "paying it forward" and doing nice things to win a vegan t-shirt. There's nothing you can do to help me win, I think they are just picking at random from all the people who do nice things for someone else this week. Isn't that a lovely idea?

Santa Cruz: Come on Weds and KICK CANCER'S ASS!! XOXO

P.S. Here is a link to the amazing video of the last one in March (I'm there in my rainbow pants! Wouldn't a vegan shirt look great with those?)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Juice: Apple Mint Watermelon

This was a quickie to make!

My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

I recently wrote a post about how important it is to hydrate in the morning (here) and another about why watermelon makes a perfect breakfast (& not lunch or dessert) here. Well, here are those two ideas combined into one delicious meal!
Apple Mint Watermelon Hydrator:
  • Half a watermelon
  • 1-2 apples
  • Fresh mint (the bigger leaves the better not to get stuck in your straw!)

When I took the picture above I had blended the first two ingredients together like a smoothie. After this picture I started drinking it and decided I didn't like the pulpy texture. An option would be just to juice them (with the mint), but I just poured what I had blended through a large strainer and suddenly had a beautiful pulp-free juice! I stuck a bunch of mint in the glass, shook it up, and sipped it through a straw to avoid getting mint leaves in my mouth.
Mmmm. Absolutely delicious. And sooooooooo healthy!

Comments Fixed!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

You can now follow me on Bloglovin!

Also: I owe it to my #1 reader, my grandma Peaches of course, for bringing to my attention some problems with how the comments were set up.

My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

I think I've got them set up correctly now. Please do feel free to comment! It puts a little steam in my engine to hear from you! :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer Soup: Peach Gazpacho

Move over tomatoes! I found a gazpacho recipe that features a different fruit: the beautiful peach! It's raw, vegan, delicious, and will cool you off on the hottest summer day:

My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

You can click here to visit the original recipe at Martha Stewart's website.
I made a few changes based on taste preference and what I had on hand. You may use any color peach, but the white ones were looking so lovely and large that I had to get some.

Vegan White Peach Gazpacho (serves 2)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 white peaches, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, plus more to taste (I actually used a pomegranate vinegar and think any fruity vinegar will work great if you have it) 
  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • coarsely chopped fresh cilantro to taste (2-3 tbsp, but I probably used 4 because I LOVE cilantro!), plus leaves for garnish
  • optional: 1/2 finely chopped red bell pepper and Hass avocado, for garnish 
Pulse the water, peaches, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a food processor until coarsely pureed. Thin your soup with more water if desired. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours! This should be a beautifully cold summer treat!
Season to your liking with the salt, pepper, vinegar, and herbs, garnish prettily, then serve immediately. Ole!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Raw Vegan Butterfinger Smoothie

You read that title right. Raw, vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, and pretty darn HEALTHY smoothie that tastes like a Butterfinger bar in your glass.  Winning.

My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

I originally found this recipe through @chilali13 's Instagram and then on her blog: She has amazing photos and recipes and I recommend following her!
The texture is not the thickest, and I had to tweak the amounts a little to my taste, so you might too:
Vegan Butterfinger Smoothie:

  •  2 cups carrot juice (through a juicer, or blended then strained if you only have a blender)
  • 1 tbsp organic creamy organic peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder*
  • 1-2 tsp raw maca powder*
  • even less than a pinch of sea salt
 *If you are new to these ingredients and they sound intimidating, relax! They are in most markets now. Try the bulk, baking, health, or nuts sections. I use Divine Organics brand.
I'd like to call your attention to the nutrition info posted on the Butterfinger website vs. the nutrition info (calculated through MyFitnessPal app, which I love and use for everything!) for this smoothie:

If health were only about calorie counting, a Butterfinger would seem almost worth it. But candy has about zero nutrition and is a true reach-for-it-quickly-then-regret-it-all-day treat, whereas this smoothie takes 5 minutes to make and is packed with vitamins A and C, potassium, protein, and even a decent bit of calcium. There's no "sugar-slump" from the energizing carbs in this guy. The cacao is rich in minerals and gives you your chocolate fix, while maca is a powerful anti-oxidant that promotes stamina and mental clarity and is really pretty tasty, a lot like toffee.

This is one delicious treat! You're so welcome!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fruit Week: Friday "Holy Gr-ale" Juice

I feel like this round of posts could have been called Kale Week as much as Fruit Week. Behold, the Holy Grrrrrale:

My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

It gets its name from the only 2 ingredients: grapes and kale! I can't take credit for coming up with the sweet name, this one is a favorite recipe from Fully Raw Kristina (see her youtube video recipe below). I had doubts initially that one fruit ingredient would be enough to balance that earthy green taste of kale, but I'm serious when I say this is one of my favorite juices ever! It gets bonus points just for being so simple.

Holy Grale Juice:
  • 1/2 - 1 bunch grapes (Any kind, but c'mon! The beautiful dark purplish-blue ones are in the markets right now, so get those while you can!)
  • 1/2 - 1 bunch of kale
  • plus, 5 reserved grapes for the end
Juice the grapes first and just enjoy a little taste of that. You will never want to settle for store-bought grape juice again! No contest! Strip your kale (see my tip on how to do this here) and juice it. I juice the last 5 or so grapes after the kale to help the green juice get out. My juicer is getting a bit worn out, so I'll even run a little filtered water through at the end to get more juice.

Last of all, strain the juice into your cup, because unless you have an awesome juicer there will probably still be a fair amount of grape skins and pulp in there. I like a nice, smooth juice. For all you audiovisual learners, here is the original recipe from Fully Raw Kristina:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Simple "Sick Day" Recipes: Kale Miso

The other day I wrote about how to eat a head of kale a day. You can do it when you're sick, too!

My instagram: @veganlifeisgood

Simple Sick Day Kale Miso Soup (serves 1):
  •  1/3 container veggie stock (I like Imagine Farms No-Chicken broth, low sodium)
  • 1/2" chunk of fresh ginger, skin cut off (see notes below regarding ginger)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (I used pre-chopped to save time)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 1/2 tsp miso
Add the veggie stock, ginger slice, and garlic to a pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. I use a large sided 1" frying pan instead of a soup pot unless I'm making a lot. That way I have more surface area for veggies to wilt.
Meanwhile, rinse and strip the kale off the stems. There's no need to chop it as it will wilt in the pan, so just tear it in half or thirds. Add to the simmering pot and stir frequently until it starts to wilt. You don't want to cook it completely because it will lose a lot of it's nutritional value.
Last, add the miso and stir for a minute or two 'til most of it dissolves. Miso should never be boiled or added with more than a few minutes left of simmer time. Remove from heat while there are still visible bits, remove ginger chunk, and serve immediately.

Health Notes: Garlic, miso, and ginger are very healthy for what ails you. Ginger is an absolute rockstar for health problems, known for its anti-inflamatory, anti-microbial, and analgesic properties, and is great for nausea and indigestion. The taste is pretty mild in this recipe, so you can add or subtract according to your preferences. Another option for ginger-lovers is to grate some up and squeeze the juice into the soup instead of the chunk.

Simple "Sick Day" Recipes: Coldbuster Smoothie

It is more important than ever to eat nutritiously when you're sick, but no one feels like spending much time in the kitchen when they are. A nighttime cough got the best of me, so yesterday and today I've been laid up in bed resting and replenishing. Throughout the day I'll be featuring a couple of quick, easy, powerhouse vegan recipes that I've been making to get back to 100%:

Instagram: @veganlifeisgood

Simple Coldbuster Smoothie:
  • 1/2 container fresh strawberries
  •  1 - 1&1/2 cups frozen pinapple
  • 1/3 inch slice of fresh ginger
Better than Jamba Juice and straight from your own blender! I know it's supposed to be Fruit Week and I already did strawberries, luckily I keep a variety of frozen fruit on hand, and pineapple is a delicious Vitamin C powerhouse for a sick day. If you have fresh pineapple, try reversing the recipe and using frozen strawberries instead. No need for ice!

Stay tuned later today for my favorite sick day soup and some notes on the many health benefits of ginger.