lately I’ve been getting really into making wraps. and why not, right? they’re a fun, easy way to get a bunch of delicious good stuff in a snack or a side dish. here’s some I’ve made recently:
first and foremost, I make a spicy mayo to spread on the tortilla, which consists of two of my favorite things:
I don’t really make precise measurements when I mix, I’d say it’s usually about a tablespoon of the vegenaise to a teaspoon of the sriracha, but you can play around with it according to your preferences.
my very first summer rolls! these were a lot easier to make than I expected. I learned how to prepare them here. I didn’t go with the traditional rice noodle method since I didn’t have any on hand, so instead I just used whatever random vegetables I had lying around, which included: sprouts, cucumbers, zucchini, bell peppers, and carrots. I actually think I prefer sprouts to rice noodles so I’ll probably just be making all my summer rolls with those from now on.
the weather down here has been so fantastic lately. definitely tons of perfect days for bike rides and picnics and walks in the park and all that good stuff. I even got myself a cute dress to commemorate the beginning of spring and the end of the miserable cold spell we’ve been having. I’ve also been slowly but surely gathering supplies to begin working on a garden. I’ve got a couple potted plants growing, but I’ve bean meaning to clear out our garden beds for zucchini, carrots, and maybe even a watermelon or two. although sometimes when I wake up and look outside, all my motivation to be productive is replaced with an unquenchable desire to lay out on in the backyard and tan.
I consider my living situation pretty lucky; my house is situated in the middle of downtown, biking distance to tons of great restaurants and cafes, including an almost unreasonable amount of vegan ones. so let’s explore all the ones I’ve visited and documented so far.
first and foremost, my favorite cafe in downtown Orlando (if not all of Florida) is the Drunken Monkey. they’re on 444 North Bumby Avenue, hilariously next door to the Beefy King and a stone’s throw away from Etoile, a great vintage boutique. they offer a variety of food for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans, and it all ranges from paninis, wraps, burritos, hot dogs, soups, paellas, to the best baked goods everrrrrrrrrrr. seriously, if my wallet permitted, the Drunken Monkey would make me the fattest, happiest, sassiest person in the world off of their oatmeal bars, marshmallow brownies, and ANZAC cookies alone. and yes, their marshmallow brownies are vegan. praises be sung because they are glorious. another thing I really love about the Drunken Monkey is that they don’t have a static menu, so you can come in every day and they’ll have something you’ve never tried before. and I can almost guarantee you it’s gonna be good.
up next is Raphsodic, a 100% vegan bakery co-op that just recently opened on 710 N. Mills Ave. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting them a few times and have yet to not be impressed. last time I was there they had a reasonable selection of gluten free goodies that I would have tried if I hadn’t been tempted by the coconut chocolate banana pie instead.
then of course there’s Ethos, Orlando’s very own (only?) 100% vegan restaurant, located on 1235 North Orange Avenue. you really can’t be a vegan in Orlando without having been to Ethos at least once in your life. and it’s definitely worth a visit. unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the foods I’ve even there, but I’ve had their Samson burger (my favorite, highly recommended!), the philly, and the sheep’s pie. and of course their cookies which are omnomnomnom good. people swear up and down about their mac and cheese, but I haven’t had the opportunity to pay them a visit on Saturdays yet so I apparently am seriously missing out. hopefully I’ll find out sooner than later!
and then we have Tony’s Deli, a teensy little Mediterranean restaurant on 1323 North Mills Avenue that I always knew was vegetarian friendly but was surprised to find out that they’re actually pretty much 99% vegan and extremely accommodating. everything is handmade there, including their doughs and such, so their spinach pies and baklavas are vegan!
though it’s not an Orlando-only staple, we also have the Loving Hut, whose quality of food is only slightly surpassed by its creepiness. but I brave it out and drink their green smoothies and ignore the fact that there might be some kind of brainwashing agent in them. (if you don’t know what I’m alluding to, obviously you’ve never been. pay them a visit and watch their TV for a little bit and you’ll see exactly what I mean.) last Sunday I got to experience their all-you-can-eat buffet for the first time ever! it’s from 3PM to 9PM every Sunday and it’s about $10 per person. here’s my suggestion: bring a computer, book, or something to occupy your time with and spend the whole day there partaking in their delicious food. you’ll most certainly get your money’s worth that way and trust me, they are waaaay too polite/sedated to kick you out. once again, no pictures because for some reason I deleted them all. some subconscious reason that drives me to worship the almighty vegan master, perhaps?
last but not least, there’s the Green Room Cafe in Cocoa Beach, on 222 N. 1st Street. I spent a night there during my spring break and it was the only vegan-friendly restaurant in the five-mile vicinity of my hotel (not counting the co-op which closed at 7PM). they’re great! I had the Golden Fold, which is a wrap consisting of rice, pineapple, tofu, and tons o’ greens, with an uhhhhmazing sauce. I’m not even a huge fan of pineapple, but I really enjoyed it juxtaposed to everything else. if you’re ever in or around Cocoa, definitely pay the Green Room Cafe a visit. they’re super duper nice there too. :>
for being a ‘healthy’ vegan blog, this sure has been filled with tons of sugar and fat lately. oops. sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself and I go into a baking frenzy for a couple days… or weeks. but life is back on track and here are some of my latest culinary adventures!
black bean burger and wrap, both extremely delicious! I used Fat Free Vegan’s black bean burger recipe with a few tweaks: I subbed the rice, pepper, and onion for a slow-cooked stuffed pepper with rice and carrots that I had in the fridge. for the burgers, I made the buns using this recipe and they turned out good enough, albeit a little hard.
my first seitan! I used Veganomicon’s recipe with great success (and great ugliness). it was fantastic on an open faced sandwich with rosemary focaccia bread (also from Veganomicon), lettuce, and tomato. simplicity at it’s best!
my copy of Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen came in and I had fun with a few recipes from there. the first is the butternut squash ‘rice’ with walnuts. I let my friends and coworkers tried this and they were shocked at how rice-like the texture was and how great it tasted. I absolutely loved it as well. then I tried the sunburgers and they were… not my thing. not saying they’re bad, just not what I’m into. a bit bland also.
my very first granola! I looked through some recipes for a basic guide and then just kinda made up everything as I went along. flavor-wise it was spectacular, texture and form-wise I wasn’t too happy with. I was going for more of a granola BAR and it was just too crumbly and flaky for that. so I’ll definitely be trying again, and as soon as I’m successful I’ll post my recipe. :>
stir-fry based on Fat Free Vegan’s Hot and Sour Shirataki Noodles recipe. shirataki noodles seem to get so much flack from the vegan community for being gross and smelly, but I actually genuinely like them. yeahhhh the odor’s a little weird at first, but it’s nothing a thorough rinsing won’t get out! and once everything’s cooked and flavored it’s completely gone anyway. don’t get me wrong, real pasta is far superior to this, but it’s also far fattier and I just can’t really bring myself to eat it anymore, so I’m just glad shirataki noodles are here to satiate my cravings.
glorious cheesy scrambled breakfast burritos. these were the bomb. the only complaint I got about them was from my roommate who said they’d be better with real cheese. wellllll sucks for her. I really wish I could remember where I got my cheese sauce recipe from but I can’t for the life of me find it. well, I’m sure I’ll be making these again sooner than later and when I do I’ll meticulously write down and bookmark everything so I can share, because these are so worth it. in fact I really want one right now. or two. or four. D:
I just got done watching this and oh man let me tell you, it was pretty powerful. Food Matters is a documentary dealing with the state of health and nutrition in the world today. they go into detail about raw, organic diets, the importance of vitamins, and the causes and preventions of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic illnesses. I was honestly shocked and appalled at some of the things mentioned in this, especially many of the statistics (like how the number of deaths from cancer has more than doubled since Nixon put billions of dollars into medicinal research into the field over 30 years ago; lol wut). on top of that, they do nothing but reassure just how simple and logical it is to be healthy. this is a really really great movie. it’s done nothing but justify my choice in going vegan. I highly recommend checking Food Matters out if you are concerned at all about the things you put in your body and what they have the ability to do to you.
here’s the trailer:
in an even more unreasonable amount of time. for the past few days, that’s all I’ve been doing. and here are the fruits of my labors:
heavenly biscuits from Flavor Vegan. on their own I thought they were a tad bland, but a nice buttery spread really complimented them.
peanut butter, chocolate chip, and banana coconut cookies I made on a whim one night to bring in to work the next day. the unanimous favorite amongst pretty much everyone were the banana coconut, and I’m going to try and experiment with turning them into muffins sometime soon.
satanic sugar cookies from The Gluttonous Vegan for my beloved friend Danny.
peanut butter chocolate brownies I made today to use up the rest of the peanut butter I bought (since I’m not a big fan of it in general). I modified this recipe, here’s what mine consisted of:
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 mashed bananas
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 oz melted semi-sweet baking chocolate
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup soymilk
- preheat oven to 375 degrees. lightly crease a 9×13 baking pan.
- in a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.
- in a large bowl, mix bananas and sugar until smooth. add peanut butter and melted chocolate and cream together.
- mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients and milk gradually.
- bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into mixture comes out clean.
- let cool and decorate with either homemade or store bought frosting (I used Funfetti).
makes about 16 decent-sized servings
- calories: 232
- fat: 10g
- sodium: 83mg
- carbs: 32g
- fiber: 2g
- sugar: 11g
- protein: 6g
not bad for brownies! and they’re very rich tasting, so you really wouldn’t be able to tell that they’re fairly low-calorie. thank goodness for bananas. :>
my friend Christine’s 21st birthday is today, and if you knew her, you would know immediately why these cupcakes epitomize her to a T. I used a couple different recipes and made a few alterations, so I’ll just re-post everything here.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup + 1 – 2 tbsp white granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 1 cup cold water
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- food coloring of choice
- preheat oven to 375 degrees and line your cupcake pan with liners or grease with non-stick spray.
- combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- in a separate (small) bowl, combine water, canola oil, and vanilla.
- add the ingredients in the small bowl to the dry ingredients in the big bowl gradually, whisking everything together while doing so.
- once combined, add lemon juice and stir together well.
- separate batter into different bowls, one for each color you plan on using. I had five colors, and the batter makes about five cups so I put a cup in each bowl.
- squeeze about 1 – 2 teaspoons of food coloring into each bowl and whisk together until combined.
- pour the batter into the cupcake pan, one color at a time. I used a tablespoon to measure it out.
- bake for about 20 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack.
- makes 12 generously-sized cupcakes.
- 2 pitted and peeled avocados
- 1 pound powdered confectioner’s sugar (yeah.. I know. it pains me to write this, and pained me even more to make it. but it tastes damn good.)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp lemon OR vanilla extract
- chop and mash avocados in a large bowl so they’re easier to mix. I used a potato masher.
- add lemon juice and whisk together until smooth and light green.
- gradually add sugar, about 1/2 a cup at a time and mix until you reach a light and smooth consistency.
- add extract and combine until mixed together.
- the frosting is going to be a lot more like an icing, it was kind of difficult for me to frost the cupcakes without it melting all over the place. so I would suggest putting it in the refrigerator until it’s a little more solid to make it easier to decorate.
now, I’m not even going to bother with the nutritional information for these because it’s not pretty. these are so not even close to being good for you, but they’re delicious and perfectly acceptable for a special occasion like someone’s birthday. all you have to know is that there’s over 600 calories per cupcake. yup. these WILL give you a sugar high like no other. I ate two and went out dancing later and they fueled my whole night. good times!
also, in unrelated news this morning I was surprised with a couple fantastic packages on my doorstep!!
Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen and Vegan Express were bought from a member on the Post Punk Kitchen forums and Supermarket Vegan and Veganomicon were bought from Amazon. these are my first completely vegan cookbooks and I am stoooooked to use them. :>
I’m a big fan of lists. and I like a challenge. and I’m newly vegan. so the vegan hundred is perfect for me! and I’ve already got a head start because I eat weird food all the time.
3. Scrambled Tofu
4. Grilled Portobella Caps
5. Fresh Ground Horseradish
6. Sweet Potato Biscuits
8. Vegan Cole Slaw
9. Ginger Carrot Soup
10. Fiddlehead Ferns
11. Roasted Elephant Garlic
13. Almond Butter Toast
14. Aloe Vera
15. H and H Bagel NYC
16. Slow Roasted Butternut Squash
17. White truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Freshly ground wasabi
20. Coconut Milk Ice Cream (not store bought)
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Orchard-fresh pressed apple cider
23. Organic California Mango (in season Sept-Oct only)
25. Papaya Smoothie
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet (habanero) pepper
27. Goji Berry Tea
29. Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie
30. Radishes and Vegan Buttery Spread
32. Oven fresh Sourdough bread
33. Sangria made with premium fruit and juices
35. Acai Smoothie
36. Blue Foot Mushrooms
37. Vegan Cupcake from Babycakes NYC
38. Sweet Potatoes and Tempeh combo
40. Spelt Crust Pizza
41. Salt and Pepper Oyster Mushrooms
42. Jicama Slaw
43. Pumpkin Edamame Ginger Dumplings
44. Hemp Milk
45. Rose Champagne
47. Raw Avocado-Coconut Soup
48. Tofu Pesto Sandwich
49. Apple-Lemon-Ginger-Cayenne fresh-pressed juice
50. Grilled Seitan
51. Prickly pear
52. Fresh Pressed Almond Milk
53. Concord Grapes off the vine
55. Coconut Water fresh from a young coconut
56. Organic Arugula
57. Vidalia Onion
58. Sampler of organic produce from Diamond Organics
59. Honeycrisp Apple
61. Vegan Campfire-toasted Smores
62. Grape seed Oil
63. Farm fresh-picked Peach
64. Freshly-made pita bread with freshly-made hummus
65. Chestnut Snack Packs
66. Fresh Guava
67. Mint Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
68. Raw Mallomar from One Lucky Duck, NYC
69. Fried plantains
71. Golden Beets
72. Barrel-Fresh Pickles
73. Liquid Smoke
74. Meyer Lemon
75. Veggie Paella
76. Vegan Lasagna
78. Homemade Soy Milk
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Lychee Bellini
81. Tempeh Bacon
82. Sprouted Grain Bread
83. Lemon Pepper Tempeh (my favorite kind!)
84. Vanilla Bean
86. Carrot you pulled out of the ground yourself
87. Vegan In-Season Fruit Pie
89. Corn Chowder
90. High Quality Vegan Raw Chocolate
91. Yellow fuzz-free Kiwi
92. White Flesh Grapefruit
94. Coconut Oil
96. Homemade Risotto
98. Seedless ‘Pixie’ Tangerine
99. Gourmet Sorbet, not store bought
100. Fresh Plucked English Peas
it seems like baking cupcakes is a rite of passage for vegans. and I wasn’t going to pass that up. all I ever do is cook things that are healthy and low-fat and I felt like I needed to give myself a break, so I went all out and decided to make these. oh man, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. 4.5 cups of sugar in JUST the frosting, aaahhhhh! but it was so worth it. they were DELICIOUS. better than any non-vegan cupcake I’ve had, that’s for sure. and honestly, after putting them through a recipe calculator, they were not as ridiculously bad as I expected:
per serving with frosting (makes about 20 cupcakes):
- calories: 364
- fat: 15g
- cholesterol: 15mg
- sodium: 233mg
- potassium: 141mg
- carbs: 57g
- sugar: 16g
- protein: 4g
three definitely gave me a pretty good sugar rush. and I’m sure I’ll be regretting eating so many tomorrow when I wake up all gross and bloated. but in my defense, the rest of my day was spent eating fairly well. I had dinner with my grandparents and much to my surprise they catered to my new vegan ways and gave me tons of delicious Russian food to choose from! they made baked potatoes, a cucumber and tomato salad, peppers in a really interested vinaigrette, a pickle and squash medley, and pumpernickel bread. not pictured were potato dumplings and a spicy eggplant spread. I’ll be asking for recipes for everything so I’ll be posting more about all that later. I was pretty surprised how easy it is to veganize Russian food!
first and foremost I apologize for the cellphone-quality photos, but my camera is out of commission for the moment since my memory card has mysteriously disappeared and I have yet to retrieve or replace it. :<
anywho! about a week ago I decided to go vegan. I could go on for days about why, but here's a comment I made to a friend that summarized it in a somewhat short and sweet rant:
it’s not about animal ethics at all. I’ve been looking more into the meat industry in America and it’s disgusting. knowing how poorly taken care of factory farms are, how much messed-up practices go on with hiring illegal immigrants, how the FDA has practically no power and grounds on regulating safety and health, how many genetically modified chemicals are put into everything with no limitations, and the kind of politicians that are in charge of all of that really just makes me sick to the point that I don’t feel comfortable putting animal products in my body and supporting such corrupt business anymore.
I had a ton of non-vegan food at home and I didn’t want to just throw it out or let it go to waste, so I told myself I was going to finish eating it and start going vegan as soon as it was all gone.well, I ate my last piece of a poppyseed roulette on Friday, so Saturday was the big start for me. luckily I’m visiting my family this weekend, so I had the extreme privilege of getting an all-expenses paid Whole Foods shopping spree courtesy of my mom, who reluctantly accepted my new lifestyle (after initially getting furious and flipping out). and I also had my first meal as a vegan there, which was pretty good, but not good enough for the price ($15!). if anything, it gave me ideas of things I could start making myself at home.. for much much cheaper. however, their vegan chocolate chip cookies were the best I’ve ever had, so at least they have that going for them.
my initial goal for the weekend was to spend it cooking and baking my ass off trying to show my parents that a vegan diet is not only healthy and reasonable, but also totally delicious. so far, I made these banana nut muffins. they turned out slightly less sweet than expected, but for something that’s ‘healthy’ and has no sugar whatsoever, I think the recipe does a pretty decent job of making it as sweet as reasonably possible. I still liked them a lot, and my mom did too, which means they were a success! next time I might add some agave syrup, though.
tomorrow I will be exploring the wild world of chocolate chip cookies, tofu pot pies, and if I’m feeling really adventurous, vanilla cupcakes. wish me luck!
I made it… almost! Friday and Saturday I had coffee, because work was brutal and there’s no way I could’ve gone through a 13-hour shift without caffeine. but as far as food goes, I was good and raw for seven whole days. :>
alrighty, so here are the things countless raw sites promise you on the ‘diet':
* more energy!
* clear skin!
* better digestion!
* weight loss!
* less risk of heart/cardiovascular disease!
the first day I was a complete zombie, but the next day I definitely felt a huge spike in energy as soon as I woke up. it fluctuated throughout the week, but I was able to function without coffee which is pretty good for me.
I have noticed slight improvements in my skin and my friends have mentioned that it’s looking clearer too. I haven’t worn foundation all week because I felt I didn’t need it.
I lost about three pounds during the week! although I have a feeling I’ll gain at least some of them back now that I’m not raw anymore.
I’ll let you know when I’m 50 about the heart stuff. ;D
so pretty much all I ate was salads. but for me, it was the easiest and most efficient way to get everything I needed. they got me full fast and gave me tons of energy throughout the day, so no complaints there. I added lemon juice to all my green salads and ate my fruit salads on their own. speaking of which, I realized I LOVE fruit salads. they’re probably my new favorite thing now, and I’m going to start incorporating them into my daily diet.
I didn’t eat as many nuts and seeds as I should’ve, but honestly, buying all that fresh produce didn’t come cheap and I just couldn’t afford to spend more. that’s the major negative factor in going raw for me is it cost me A LOT more than usual.
the other problem I had was mostly bad timing. it’s been frigid here for the past few weeks, with lows of 30s almost every night. as a Floridian that’s been here for almost 15 years, this kind of weather is completely foreign to me and I don’t really have the proper wardrobe to handle it correctly. so when all the food I ate was cold on top of that, it kind of made me miserable and all week I was craving nothing but warm baked goods. so I think what I’m going to do is attempt this all over again in the summer, and then try to go for a month. I’m sure it’ll be tons easier then since ALL I’ll be wanting is cold foods (apparently it’s an El Nino year so this summer is going to be hotter than usual, oh boy oh boy).
all in all, I think this was a great and extremely rewarding experience. I’m now going to proactively strive to eat 100% raw at least a couple times a week, and hopefully work up to a 50% raw diet with time. it really does make me feel a lot better and cleaner. it feels awesome knowing I can eat almost as much as I want and I’ll never get that gross, bloated, overeaten feeling or the guilt that comes with knowing how many calories I’ve consumed. and the lack of mystery products in my food is also a huge weight off my shoulders. I know the food industry in America is disgusting and when I prepare my own foods that come from completely fresh produce, nothing frozen, nothing boxed, nothing compressed, nothing packaged, it’s just gives me a really nice, calming feeling.