Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Glazed Banana Orange Walnut Muffins

The only fats are the walnuts which provide satisfying crunch to a delicious fruit fulfilling treat.
I still am coping with extreme guilt. A few weeks ago was a good friend's birthday. I made orange banana muffins with Valencia orange zest that turned out awful. The chunks may have been too large. Maybe I acquired a bad orange. Extremely bitter tasting zest ruined flavor of the entire muffin. Plus, I forgot the walnuts! Ugh. Such a mess. I wound up bringing sliced strawberries. Although washed and hand sliced, strawberries lacked "from the heart" sentiment.
Thus, I went back to the drawing board and naturally recreated muffins without fresh grated orange zest. Located in the spice aisle, McCormick's makes this great Valencia Orange Peel that comes out in tiny granules. It doesn't overwhelm moist, blissful muffins and strangely enough far sweeter without atrocious bitter taste.
Sweet, irresistible muffins are then topped with a simple coconut milk and orange juice glaze. Banana and walnuts provide all the oils needed. I think my friend will adore these so much more than original failed idea. Recipe makes 12 muffins. It's hard to eat just one.

Introducing something refreshing and vegan every Wednesday!
Now this post is participating in Virtual Vegan Potluck's new weekly link party as a dessert entry. I found out about this weeks ago, but just decided today to join the fun. Are you a 100% vegan, cruelty free blogger wanting to participate in sharing a recipe in one of eight courses? Well, find out all the exciting details here by vegan lady blog hostesses: An Unrefined VeganBunny Kitchen, and Canned Time.

Glazed Banana Orange Walnut Muffins Ingredients and Preparation

1 large banana, ripened
1/2 cup Tropicana No Pulp Orange Juice
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon McCormick's Valencia Orange Peel
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup walnuts

Orange Coconut Glaze

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/8 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix banana, orange juice, and vanilla almond milk together. (I got it all smooth in a blender).
In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, McCormick's Valencia Orange Peel, cinnamon and salt.
Add wet to dry, stirring evenly.
Lastly, add apple cider vinegar and walnuts. Stir again.
Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into muffin tin.
Bake for 23-25 minutes. Fork should be clean if done.
Let cool.

Pour glaze over cooled muffins.
Sprinkle extra McCormick's Valencia Orange Peel atop.
Yummy goodness. May be hard to stop at just one.
Perfect with strawberries and a cold glass of almond milk.
Sharing is caring- makes belly happy that's for sure! However, humor aside, cannot wait to see what my friend thinks most of all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Spicy Black Beans & Rice

Hot sauce amps up flavor profile of traditional black beans and rice.
Finally received school schedule yesterday as an MFA candidate and cannot rein inside excitement. It's going to be quite a challenging year. Orientation is August 24-26 and school begins that same week. With Tuesday (my birthday is on a Tuesday!) and weekends free, I haven't had a class almost everyday in like forever. Thankfully I scored only one morning class- which falls on a Monday (three alarm clocks required). Classes are Reframing Theory Seminar, Core Critique Group (a small band of classmates and three instructors talking individual practice), Lo-Fi Translations Drawing, and Private Studio with visiting critic Abigail Deville. I'm uber thrilled about Abigail because she happened to be my first pick! Eeeeek!!!!
Enough school cheer. For now.
All things are not delicious in vegan ville and talking processed vegan meats.
I have a dear friend who says that the cure for most bad cuisines is hot sauce. If you've been an avid reader of the blog, you'll note that I've rarely used that ingredient or the craziness of sriracha. Hot sauce or hot pepper sauce is primarily made of red chili peppers and other ingredients, a condiment that kicks up spice cravings whenever desired.
So while at Kroger, someone told me that they had a bin of clearance vegan cheese. Naturally, I bought more than I needed. It's not everyday that Daiya is a half off Manager's Special. 
One of my favorite dishes is rice and beans. I prefer black beans over the popular red beans. A simple one skillet meal that provides fiber and protein alongside guilty pleasures like melted Jalapeno Garlic Havarti Wedge, addictive coriander (I adore coriander!) and hot sauce. Plus addition of broccoli and cauliflower doesn't hurt. I never would have thought to add hot sauce to black beans and rice, but glad to have provided the fiery tool.

Spicy Black Beans & Rice Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup brown rice (I used a 10 minute variety which saves so much time)
1/2 cup broccoli, steamed
1/2 cup cauliflower, steamed
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Daiya Havarti Jalapeno Garlic Wedge
2 tablespoon hot sauce

Cook your brown rice accordingly. Should make two cups.
Add black beans and simmer.
Add cooked veggies, spices, and melt in Daiya.
Pour on the hot sauce and serve.
Also sprinkle additional red pepper flakes.
Glorious mountaintop of hot sauced heaven.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Banana Butterfinger Milkshake

Perfect treat to beat the heat.
Summer is practically almost over. Well, for those who start school in exactly one month.
Now I'm not the biggest fan of corn syrup- high fructose or otherwise and try to not eat much of that. Although on occasion, I will snack on an Oreo, 365 Brands cane sugar creme sandwich cookies are better. I had an extreme knackering for Butterfinger milkshakes, missing NYC's Terri to bits and pieces. One recipe called for Chick O' Sticks. Chick O' Sticks have corn syrup as a listed ingredient. Most unfortunate.
While at Kroger tonight (the smaller, non-fancy location), looking for cocoa, Larabar looked quite appetizing. That $1 bingo contained both chocolate and peanuts sweetened by glorious dates. I left the $4 cocoa behind, getting way too excited about milkshake making. I never used Larabar in a recipe before. So yes there was some skepticism. Banana gave extra thickness and pizazz to a rich, nutty version of a classic treat. It was so wonderful. A chocolate coated peanut butter banana bliss concoction with crunchy nuts on top. Also- my peanuts contained pecans which adds extra oomph! Pecans can do no wrong!

Banana Butterfinger Milkshake Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Peanut Butter Chocolate Larabar
1 banana, not fully ripened
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Chop up Peanut Butter Chocolate Larabar into pieces and place into bottom of blender.
Add the banana, almond milk, peanut butter, and peanuts. Blend well. Add ice cubes for extra cold chill and crunch.
Sprinkle with nuts atop.
Drink and enjoy the yum.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Fresh organic strawberries do make a splendid ice cream flavor.
Must admit that during childhood, when it came to Neapolitan ice cream- familiar vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry classic- I always skimped out on the strawberry rectangle. It wasn't to be mean or super duper picky. Or maybe I was being super duper picky. That irritating artificial sugar stuff on top of the nasty bits of over sweetened "real" strawberry never appealed to me. I do, however, have a massive addiction to strawberries and can often be seen wielding a container filled with sliced, luscious red, juicy, finger-suckling fruit that is better than candy.  
Now it wasn't my intention to miss the special third Sunday in July- National Ice Cream Day in National Ice Cream Month. Sincerest apologies. I make up for it by crafting a simple strawberry ice cream recipe that combines four real ingredients inside a blender. One could use conventional strawberries, but organic strawberries (currently 2/$5 at Kroger) taste sweeter, much more divine. It's quite noticeable. 
Please don't make fun of me for being a late bloomer. I actually have been spooning past ice creams with traditional silverware and have now gotten into this century, this time period- ice cream scoops are the way to go! Makes ice cream easier to dish out and presentation looks super pretty.
All hail the ice cream scoop and the strawberry. Yum!

Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream Ingredients and Preparation

8-10 strawberries
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon sugar 
2 teaspoon vanilla

Puree all ingredients into blender or food processor.
Pour into a steel bowl, cover, and place inside freezer for 6-8 hours. (I left mine in overnight).
Serve when its at desired softened consistency. 

And why not add extra genuine strawberry goodness to a bowl of this delightful summer treat!
Scrumptious and a cool tongue pleaser on the hottest days.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Soft Baked Garlic Pita Flatbread & Fried Falafel Dip

Yummy kind of hors d'oeuvres.
On Sunday, I scoured Kroger (they've been rewarding me massive summer savings coupons!) hoping to find Earth Balance's new line of vegan boxed mac n cheeses. Nope. Didn't find any. Earthfare or Health Foods Unlimited might be best bet around these parts. They are, however, selling Silk's Black Cherry Yogurt again- which had been defunct for a while now. For 10/$10 I had to get a couple having missed beloved flavor. So shopping trip wasn't a big loss. Also stocked up on chickpeas, having decided to make some kind of falafel.
Well, I thought it would be company day ( younger brother was supposed to pop by) and planning ahead, found a lovely recipe for pita bread from veganrecipesofindia. Whilst preparing garlicky fluffed goodness, turning that pita into delicious flatbread, falafel made sense for perfect accompaniment. Falafel dip in actuality. This unique dip has all the yummy flavorful components of an amazing Mediterranean style mini patty and spreads on nice and thick atop warm pita flatbread. Friends and family would love seeing someone carry this out and squeal with surprise that the centerpiece isn't filled with what looks like guacamole, but tastes completely different-- plus served hot.
And since no one came by to try unique specialty, there was plenty to snack on and a lot of leftovers.....

Soft Baked Pita Flatbread & Fried Falafel Dip Ingredients and Preparation

1 1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon active yeast
pinch of sugar
3 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoon olive oil

Mix 1/2 cup warm water with sugar and sprinkle yeast atop. Let foam for 10-15 minutes.
Add yeast mixture to additional water, flour, garlic, salt, and black pepper.
Massage olive oil onto dough.
Place into an oiled bowl and top with a paper towel for an hour.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Once dough is doubled, take out of the bowl and deflate on a new flour'ed working surface.
Make about six rounded balls, flour, and flatten into circles.
Lay them on a greased (or parchment papered) baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they're nicely browned. 

15 oz. chickpeas, rinsed
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil in a skillet.
Add spices and parsley to pureed chickpeas.
Stirring action.
Completion. With blender help.
In skillet, toss mixture and scramble, cooking for 8-10 minutes.
Place fried falafel dip into a bowl and plate with soft pita bread for a killer party platter.
A little crushed red pepper to keep it interesting.
Centered in goodness.
Spread with a spoon or dunk. Choices are limited.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Let The Lips Have It: My Favorite Vegan Balms

Cruelty free beauty.
I have tried various lip balms over the years. Some were good. Some were awful. Now two years, seven months later, as a vegan, brands like Chapstick and Carol's Daughter are no longer it for me. I have cherished not only making Homemade Vegan Lip Glosses, but finding companies that create wonderful products designed to keep lips soft and hydrated without cruel additives. Few are below $5 and pricier ones are well worth the extra bucks.
Just remember that nothing beats a good animal free (no beeswax!) moisturizer for the pout.
Here are a few of my top picks.

Vanilla Chai Lip Balm is a delicious fix without all the Starbucks calories and sugar count. Plus at $4.99, it lasts longer than a one sitting cup.
Soothing Touch 70% Organic Vanilla Chai Lip Balm, $4.99. Smells so amazing that friends can smell it centimeters away and mistake it for perfume. Keeps lips soft with light sheen. Find this caffeine free fix at most health food stores or online at Soothing Touch.
Pacifica is lip heaven for those who desire balm and a light color.
Pacifica Coconut Kiss Creamy Lip Butter in Lava, $8.99. For those who love a red lip that is muted. I love wearing this to major events like art receptions. The more one applies the bolder it can be. Find these at most Whole Foods Stores or online at Pacifica Naturals. Also highly recommend Pacifica's Enlightened Gloss Nourishing Mineral Lip Shine in Ravish (sheer pomegranate with subtle gold), $12.00- a personal favorite- not a balm, but it's a necessity!
Thumbs up to Out Of Africa!
Out Of Africa Tropical Vanilla Lip Balm With SPF 15, $4.99. This is a must for summer! Has a yummy scent, keeps lips uber hydrated, AND offers protection from the sun. Be wary of the little pieces of balm that cling to lips. Find at most drug stores and online at Out Of Africa.

Checking out the Limeade.
Crazy Rumors in Limeade, $3.49. Another sweet treat addiction. Perfect flavor for wickedly hot summer. This was in my freebie bag from the Philadelphia Vegfest and I must say it's a nice one. Glides onto lips slick without goopiness. However, this lip licking flavor doesn't last long. Find it at specialty health food stores and online at Crazy Rumors.
Honorable mention:
Booda Butter, $3.99. Called "vegan bliss for your lips" for a reason. Keeps kissably moist lips saturated. A light sheen. Not too glossy. Find it at most health food stores and online at Booda Butter.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Creamy Coconut Milk Polenta With Red Roasted Peppers And Baked Lemon-Coriander Tempeh

Polenta is becoming my new fave. Perfect paired with crisp lemon-coriander tempeh.
The week has been quite marvelous here in Dayton. Weather has been perfect. Hung out with old friends. Got to see incredible art- even went to a Christopher Ries lecture at the Dayton Art Institute. It prelude an exclusive preview of "Celebrate Glass" exhibit- which officially opens today. I highly recommend seeing the show. Features Littleton- father of glassblowing, Chihuly (whose piece had a "role" in Frasier heehee!), Ries amongst others. Although glass isn't a medium of mine, I enjoyed learning about diverse mechanical techniques, discovering Cassandra Blackmore (she breaks glass and creates "paintings" out of them) and viewing ways to view such a demanding practice.
Not to say that running a blog is hard work, but I looked through my drafts (there's only about nine unfinished posts) and came across an old delicious recipe that should have been posted months ago. I despise being behind. We're talking eight months. Eeeeek! That puts procrastination to a whole other level.
I adored the unique components of polenta and tempeh together.
Creamy Coconut Milk Polenta started from a maddening polenta obsession, testing the golden corn meal cylinder block with everything under the sun. One of the best experiments would be adding pretty red roasted peppers/capsicum (Trader Joe's fire roasted jarred version although fresh could be great preference too) and full fat coconut milk. Coriander and lemon provide a wonderful citrus flavored element to crisp exterior tempeh that is perfect accompaniment to polenta.
Everything smells fragrant and inviting. Well suited for two starving individuals, it's the tastes alone that gives memorable satisfaction. I must make again soon!

Creamy Coconut Milk Polenta And Baked Lemon-Coriander Tempeh Ingredients And Preparation

2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 Trader Joe's polenta cylinder, diced
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 red roasted peppers (used Trader Joe's Fire Red Roasted Peppers)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 salt black pepper
pinch of paprika

Trader Joe's 3 Grain Tempeh, cut into four
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon liquid aminos
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet.
Mix olive oil, liquid aminos, coriander, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and black pepper. 
Brush marinade onto each side of tempeh.

Seasoned tempeh ready to be baked for 30 minutes. Make sure to slip over at 15 minutes.
Browned and crisp.
In a hot oiled skillet, toss in diced polenta.
Stir in coconut milk.
Add roasted red peppers, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Allow thickening.
Fantastic creamy polenta with red roasted peppers (and a lot of extra black peeper!) join lemon-coriander tempeh on a plate together.
Magnificent fulfilling vegan feast!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Pan Fried Cinnamon & Molasses Bananas

A simple warm dessert treat.
I hope everyone's having a splendid holiday weekend. Now the time for all the loud booming sky sparkles should have surpassed, but looks like the neighbors have a lot more firecrackers to pop. Boo.
On a happier note, today is surrealist woman artist Frida Kahlo's 107th birthday and 107 equates to 10/7 my actual birthday. Yay! Yes, I do find the corniest ways to indulge in treats. Still, I love Frida and have forever. She's one of my biggest artistic influences ever. Instead of cake tradition, I celebrated with a less guiltier yum that happens to be much more simpler to prepare- pan fried bananas!
My banana was yellow and had a few brown bruises, but wasn't mushy. Perfect. Cinnamon gives not only that sweet flavor and aromatic fragrance, it browns the banana slices nicely and offers a terrific rewarding crisp. The delicious smelling kitchen hopped with the frying sounds. Soft and chewy on the inside and the aforementioned delicate crunch on the outside. Molasses just gives that extra oomph and drizzles prettily. Cannot wait to make this again!
Slice up more bananas if expecting company- this recipe is meant for one banana loving person.

Pan Fried Cinnamon & Molasses Bananas Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 banana, firm and not yet ripened (but don't let it be green!)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 teaspoon molasses

Slice bananas and douse both sides in a cinnamon shower.
Heat skillet with coconut oil.
Place banana slices in skillet one at a time, making a single, sizzling layer. Fry each side for 1-2 minutes.
Remove and plate.
Drizzle molasses atop.
Ready to eat and no need to share. Unless you're super nice.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My First Co-Wash With Sukin Won't Be The Last!

Hair talk time!
Happy July folks! Did you see? Did you see?! AfroVeganChick is now a dotcom. FINALLY! I've been meaning to do it for a while. It's here now. y'all. :)
Hair. Did you miss my hair? I bet.
At old, former place in Philly, someone took my Sukin Australian Naturals Moisture Restoring Conditioner- a pretty damn good conditioner too. Formulated for dry/damaged hair, it worked well above duty. Seriously. that conditioner was my hubby. When I got my fro cut last year, the hairdresser loved the scent and the results. So with hurt feelings, I went back to Marshalls- mecca of great deals for us cheap vegan beauty product junkies. They didn't have that particular one anymore. Just for normal hair. Argh. My hair is not normal. It gets uber dry quick. However, it featured ingredients like nettles, avocado (my hair loves avocado like body does), jojoba and sesame oils intended for hydration. Plus paying $7.99 again a better bargain than the full price plus shipping for my beloved Moisture Restoring Conditioner, I decided to give it a try alongside with Purifying Shampoo. I also found Zerran Reallisse's 100% Vegan Anti Frizz Shine Masque on clearance for $5- it's such a treat! Needless to say, I've had a great relationship with the three.

Sorry Purifying Shampoo, but you weren't leading in!
Forever, I have stayed true and dedicated to the two shampoo rinses and conditioner ritual. Otherwise called The Long Sunday Shower. I have heard about co-washes, but never wanted to try it. Didn't want to divorce from those two shampoos. Even though, I gotta say, glad I did. That squeaky awkwardness that happens after shampooing did not occur during my first co-wash! Wet strands felt incredibly soft before the masque process started.
I picked out oiled, slightly dampened (with water) fro before this first co-wash.
Soaked hair in water and added conditioner. Rinse. Repeated.
Added hair masque and let it sink in for 5 minutes. Rinse.
Patted wet hair dry with an old t-shirt.
Slabbed on the Hair Food, massaged, gently picked again, and started twisting very soft strands!

Frontal: Faux Almost Mohawk.
Side A: Overlook the pimple and marvel at velvety hair that fingertips adore.
Middle: Texture is an amazing phenomenon.
Side B: Edges are looking so much better too.
Back: Spiral, Spiral- I adore you!