WATERMELON LIME COOLER: Refreshing Summer Drink

Here is an outtake recipe video! Read: “Web Exclusive”, AKA We didn’t have enough time to include it in the edit of the next episode, so you get this little internet video!

In Episode 4, you’ll see me sharing this drink with the special guest, so here’s what we’re drinking!

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  • 1 small banana (or 1/2 of a really large banana)
  • 3 cups watermelon, cut into chunks (no seeds)
  • 1/8th lime wedge
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup water

Put everything in a blender and… blend! (If you have a high-speed blender and organic limes, you can keep the rind on the lime. Otherwise, just remove the rind.)

Pour into some lovely glasses and garnish with extra lime! Share with a crafty friend. Or drink it all yourself while watching Say Yes to the Dress marathons (oopsies).

Watermelon Lime Cooler/Smoothie/Drink/Yum!

EPISODE 4 WILL AIR THIS SUNDAY, August 5th, on RCN Channel 4 at 9:30pm. It will be posted online next week!

LADIES IN THE KITCHEN: Cooking video with The Blissful Chef, Manifest Vegan and Save the Kales!

By the end of this post, you’ll see a video and the recipe for these tasty goodies: Popeye Cakes with Avocado Dipping Sauce. But I need to tell you about some great girls first…

Popeye Cakes, photo by Allyson Kramer

Popeye Cakes, photo by Allyson Kramer

Last week I went to Philly to meet in person (finally!) Allyson Kramer of Manifest vegan, now a Philly resident, and Christy Morgan, “The Blissful Chef” on her Blissful Bites book tour as she was traveling around from Texas.

This day meant an awful lot to me. Both of these brilliant women have played a rather large role in my own cooking knowledge and inspiration on a very basic level, but I have always admired them for being awesome vegan role models in their own right. (Yeah, I said role models, ladies!)

Allyson and Dot

Two summers ago when this blog went under a bit of an attack (to be fair, it needed to happen and that   instance taught me a lot), Allyson found my email address and wrote the most beautiful, supportive email. It      meant so much to me at the time that someone reached out to share her own story of a similar issue, how to deal with it, to remember not everyone thinks about things the same way, and NOT to be deterred from moving forward. I had just read about her and her work in VegNews magazine and she was somewhat of a celebrity in my eyes, and she was writing to little ol’ me?

It’s been nearly two years since that first email, and Allyson has been around since then to be my sounding board and a point of graceful insight when things in “the vegan community” can get confusing or disillusioning. Many times I’ve hastily written to her, a knot in my stomach, and an email 18 paragraphs long of rambling and spelling errors, and she always comes back with incredible insight, even if it’s just to say she’s felt the same way.

None of that even begins to touch on her work. I have an older interview with her HERE, though some information is different now, she’s had much more recognition for her work, and her book Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats is coming out in June. You’ll be buying it, riiighhht?

Christy Morgan cooking demo

Christy Morgan is a powerhouse. I was surprised when I met her to see how tiny she is (I’m taller than someone, what?!) because she operates on this go-go-go level. She is a trained macrobiotic chef and has participated in countless cooking demonstrations on TV, at Vegfests, and most recently at the super-big-deal IACP NYC event.  She teaches cooking classes and can do nutrition consultations over the phone, so if you’re looking to work with a true professional, give her a call.

Blissful Bites is a gorgeous full-color book that teaches basics like knife skills, to the simple “what’s the difference between vegetarian and vegan?”, and each recipe has notes to let you know if it’s low oil, gluten free (most are), can be made in less than 45 minutes, etc… It’s broken down by season, THEN by type of dish within the season. So… it’s Spring, and you’re hungry for lunch– Boom. A ton of recipe ideas. How cool is that?

Brunette Vegan Cooks with Glasses club, first meeting.

Christy offered so much insight on book deals, touring, working with clients and people of all backgrounds and skill levels, and “a typical day in the business”. I don’t know if this girl ever stops working! She’s a great example of how hard work pays off.

OKAY, I’M DONE GUSHING FOR NOW! On to the recipe!

When I got to Allyson’s house I had just got done hugging everyone and we had a few rounds of “Oh my gosh, we’re all hanging out together!”, we immediately got to work on making some lunch. Allyson had a well-stocked fridge with every vegetable you could think of, so we started throwing things together and came up with what Christy has dubbed: Popeye Cakes!  (They are green and kind of tasted like spinach, despite not using any spinach!)

Here’s a video and the recipe (taken from The Blissful Chef Blog):

Popeye Cakes with Curry Avocado Sauce
(makes about 14 cakes with 2 cups sauce)

Popeye Cakes

Toasted sesame oil
1 bunch chard, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
4 baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 29oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon flax meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown rice flour

Preparation

Heat up a medium skillet with sesame oil then saute veggies with spices for a few minutes. Cover with lid and stir occasionally. In the food processor, blend chickpeas with mustard, vinegar, flax, and salt until no big chunks remain. Add sauteed veggies and pulse those into the chickpeas until well combined. Place mixture in a large bowl then mix in flour until well combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with SIlpat or parchment paper. Wet your hands and form cakes about 2 inches in diameter. Place on cookie sheet and continue until all mixture is made into cakes. Bake for 30 minutes, then flip and bake for 20 more minutes. Meanwhile make your sauce!

Curry Avocado Sauce

1 small bunch kale, steamed
2 avocado, pitted
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 lime, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup fresh dill
1 teaspoon white miso
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

Preparation

Place all ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth and creamy, about a minute. Scrap the edges of the bowl a few times to incorporate all the ingredients. Serve on top of Popeye Cakes or as a dip with corn chips!

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Thank you so much, Allyson and Christy, for being friends and inspirations. I’m on a path that has no clear direction but forward, and there aren’t a lot of people I can turn to for personal experience and advice, but you have filled that void and I’m thankful and proud of you both.

Thanks to Kate for taping the video and taking photos so we can always remember this day!

The only still photo of the three of us, haha.

Allyson’s blog Manifest Vegan, and Christy Morgan’s website The Blissful Chef.

NEW VIDEO: Vegan (Eggless!) Quiche. Yes, Really.

I first learned about the technique of combining tofu and nondairy milk to use as an egg-like mixture from what may have been my first cookbook, The Garden of Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard. They sit there on the cover having a picnic in vintage dresses and pretty tattoos and inside all of the recipes are sassy and 1950’s kitschy clip art is found on every page.

The great thing about this quiche recipe is that once you have learned the basic “egg filling” ratio – 1 cup of tofu blended with 1/3 cup nondairy milk – you can pretty much add anything else you’d like and make your own recipe!

I made this quiche based on what ingredients I had on hand and what I thought would look pretty and colorful. Get creative with spices and veggies. *Note that using some turmeric will make the mixture yellow and look more like eggs if that’s what you’re going for.

WATCH THE VIDEO BY LEHIGH VALLEY MIRROR (below):

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 premade pie crust (read ingredients! or make one from scratch)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5-8 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp soy sauce (or Tamari or Bragg’s)
  • about 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 block (one cup) extra firm, or firm, tofu
  • 1/3 cup nondairy milk of choice (I use almond milk)
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • about 12 stalks of asparagus (to garnish the top)
  • 5-7 grape tomatoes (to garnish the top)

Save the Kales on Lehigh Valley Mirror

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add olive oil, onion and garlic to a pan and sautee about 4 minutes until the onions start to become translucent. Add red pepper, mushrooms, soy sauce and basil. Mix everything and let cook until veggies just start to soften, another 5-7 minutes.

Press the water out of the tofu. (For this recipe you only use half the block, so put the rest in a container of water and put it back in the fridge.) Put tofu in a food processor with the nondairy milk. Blend until smooth.

Save the Kales Vegan Quiche on Lehigh Valley Mirror

Add tofu mixture to a large bowl along with the veggie mixture. Add turmeric, nutritional yeast, green onions and some salt to the bowl and mix everything together. Add to the pie crust and spread out evenly.

Place asparagus stalks on top along with the tomatoes in a pretty pattern, if you choose to use them. (You can also just make them part of the veggie mixture.) Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. The top will get golden brown.

Save the Kales Vegan Quiche

*TIP: Often times premade pie crusts are sold in twos. This recipe also only takes 1/2 a block of tofu. If you have some extra veggies and spices, you can easily make two quiches instead of one!

BONUS: The extra tip in this video is about using olive oil to remove your eyemakeup! Check it out around the 6:30 minute mark.

NEW VIDEO: Hot Cabbage “Wedge Salad”; Fall Flavors!

Thanks once again to Lehigh Valley Mirror for your video producing and editing prowess!

This dish was influenced by the nutritional abomination called a wedge salad. This usually consists of: a chunk of iceberg lettuce covered in bacon and bleu cheese. Not vegan. Not healthy. Usually (strangely enough) kind of expensive in some fancier restaurants. Who needs that?

Here I took the concept of shape and texture and created a plant-based whole foods warm dish with sweet and savory flavors. This is very simple prep work and cooking for a pretty final result.

Hot Cabbage “Wedge Salad” VIDEO

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head of cabbage, cut into wedges through the core
  • 1 yam or sweet potato
  • 1 apple (honeycrisp is the BEST!)
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper
DRESSING:
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup (the real kind!)
CANDIED NUTS:
  • vegan butter melted in a pan (Earth Balance!), about 2 Tbsp.
  • enough brown sugar to make a carmelized paste
  •  about 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds (or nuts of choice)
  • a dash of cinnamon
* some dried cranberries for garnish

Manatees LOVE cabbage! Invite some over for Thanksgiving!

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the cabbage wedges on the sheet, then lightly brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until starting to brown, about 25 minutes.

Cut the yam and apple into small dices. You can leave the peels on. Put them in a bowl with a small amount of olive oil to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, and add it to the oven with the cabbage when you have 15 minutes left of cook time. (Both should get done at the same time.)

To make the dressing, whisk the mustard, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup together in a small bowl.

For the candied nuts, melt the vegan butter in a pan on low heat. Add brown sugar and mix until it’s thick and caramelized. Add nuts and stir to coat – add more nuts if mixture is still really wet. Add a dash of cinnamon, and spread mixture out on a sheet of wax or parchment paper to cool.

When all components are ready, plate by putting the cabbage on the bottom then topped with the apple and yam mix. Then drizzle on some dressing, top with the candied nuts and add some dried cranberries for a garnish!

Hot Cabbage Wedge Salad

There you go! This makes an awful lot of food, and would be a great addition to a Holiday meal or potluck. Enjoy!

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If you or someone who you know has a business or organization interested in sponsoring Save the Kales! cooking videos, please tell them to contact: LVMirror@lvmirror.com 

NEW VIDEO: Chickpea + Strawberry Summer Salad (on Steelstacks Live!)

Once again my pals at Steelstacks Live! and Greenleaf Productions let me do some cooking with Jon Lunger.

Jon is a goofball but also just gave one of the sweetest, nicest, most flattering write-ups about me over on the webpage. You can see it here. Bring tissues, it’s so nice. People are lovely, aren’t they?

Annnnd for the video:

CHICKPEA AND STRAWBERRY SUMMER SALAD

  • chickpeas (2 cans, or about 3 cups cooked)
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • olive oil, enough to coat salad lightly
  • about 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch scallions/green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp. dried mint
  • juice of 2 medium lemons
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Seriously, these are the directions: Add the chickpeas and strawberries to a mixing bowl. Coat lightly in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and mix. DONE! EASY!

You can garnish with some whole strawberries or parsley sprigs to make it look extra beautiful.

Save the Kales! on Steelstacks Live! Exclamation points!

NEW VIDEO: Healthy Sweet and Sour Broccoli with Pineapple

I’ve been doing this thing where almost all the groceries I buy lately are fresh produce, usually not knowing what I’ll do with any of it until I get home and start putting things together. It forces me to cook with more veggies since not using them means they go bad (goodbye, money!), and it encourages me to rely on the true flavor of the food and using spices.

I do eat pretty healthy, but have always still indulged in less-healthy options. However, eating a diet that is at least 70% veggies has not only been delicious and fun but helped me lose some weight and helped my occasionally-problematic skin clear up. Win-win-win.

This recipe is incredibly simple and has a really impressive flavor.  It’s also really easy. If you can chop, mix stuff in a bowl, and take something in and out of an oven, you can do this. It also only takes about FIVE MINUTES (not counting cooking time, which you can use to watch cat videos on Youtube).

Here’s the video!

Extra-super-special thank you to Matt and Sarah ofLehigh Valley Mirror for making a beautiful video. I’m excited to say I’m going to work with them at least once a month to make more cooking segments! You absolutely MUST check out their websiteevery week (updated on Wednesdays) for videos of 100% local businesses, artists, musicians, retail shops, and events.

Sweet and Sour Broccoli

  • 3-4 heads of broccoli florets (or estimate equivalent amount of pre-cut florets)
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple cut into chunks (use canned if you must!)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, tamari sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 2 teaspoon. chili paste (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

Add the broccoli and pineapple to a large mixing bowl.

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In a small mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients for the sauce. Add sauce the broccoli and pineapple and mix. Put coated veggies into a baking dish, and put in oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

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Broccoli will start to brown a little on the top, and that’s when it’s done! Dish over your favorite whole grain or rice. Top Enjoy!

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*You can certainly add more veggies to this (red peppers would be great), or a protein like tofu or tempeh. Mmm.

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Did I mention you should check out Lehigh Valley Mirror?

SteelStacks Live! With Save the Kales!

Yay, my little interview with ArtsQuest/SteelStacks Live just went up today! Thank you infinitely to Jon Lunger for being so welcoming and witty. I had a blast, and I’ve been invited back to do some actual on-camera cooking in months to come. Wee!

Check out more fun interviews with artists and musicians (Tina of beloved WINK Magazine will be on there soon!) by going to SteelStacksLive.org