Saturday, May 12, 2018

Vegan 101 Cooking Demo



I love introducing people to vegan food. Whenever I give library presentations, I never know who will show up or what their interest will be. Sometimes people a curious but cautious, sometimes people are already vegan, and sometimes they just come for the free food! But nearly always, everyone leaves pleasantly surprised realizing how delicious and easy it is to make.



That was the case this afternoon when I gave a food demo at Canton Public Library. It was a full house with about 30 people, about half of whom identified themselves as either newly vegan or semi-vegan. There was even a whole vegan family with three young kids!



I made one of my favorite recipes for this time of year:  Spring Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Pistachios, and Dijon Vinaigrette. I talked about the health benefits of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods, where to get protein on a vegan diet (hint: quinoa is a complete protein!), and how to prepare food that has a balance of color, taste, and texture.

Everyone appreciated the step by step instruction and explanation of how to cook the perfect pot of quinoa. And of course, they loved getting samples of the finish recipe!



It's a colorful salad which is perfectly fine served straight from a bowl. But, because I like to get creative, I demonstrated how to serve for a party dressed up with a scallions, chopped pistachios, and edible pansies for garnish. It was almost too pretty to dig in!

As always, if you know a school, library, or organization that would enjoy having me give a presentation, please contact me to schedule a speaking engagement. I'm happy to help make eating vegan easy for you!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Vegan Cooking Lesson


I love love LOVE experiences like these! It's so wonderful when we cook together and share delicious food! 



I was asked to put together a Mexican themed menu for a Mother's Day celebration. This morphed into a cooking lesson since my client wanted to learn how to prepare the food along with her niece.  



It was such a pleasure to cook with a budding young chef who was very interested in learning and share some chef's secrets that I hope will make cooking a fun adventure. 

Here's what my client had to say:

"We had such an amazing, fun, educational and delicious day with personal instruction by vegan personal chef Mary Lawrence of Well on Wheels! 
Abby and I had so much fun in Mary’s cooking lesson. Abby is a serious Sous Chef!! 😊

We celebrated an early Mother’s Day Compassion Feast with an awesome Mexican flare, that coincidentally just happened to fall on Cinco de Mayo weekend. Vegan black bean and zucchini enchiladas, tostadas, Mexican rice, fresh guacamole, fresh salsa and cashew nut cheese." 
This was also such a great example of vegan activism since my client is the only vegan in her family and is interested in getting everyone interested in learning more about a plant-based diet. Delicious food helps make that happen!



If you'd like to learn more, contact me to schedule your personal, customized cooking lesson!
  

Friday, May 4, 2018

Main Street Vegan Interview


Image may contain: 3 people, including Victoria Moran and Mary Lawrence, people smiling, text


It was such a pleasure to join the incredible Victoria Moran on her Main Street Vegan podcast this week to discuss creating community through compassionate cuisine. We talked about cooking tips, food justice, animal rights, communicating effectively with non-vegans, and how to stay positive as a vegan activist. If you've ever felt discouraged as a vegan, tune in to this uplifting show!

You can listen to the full interview on the following link:

http://www.unity.fm/episode/MainStreetVegan_050218

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Recipe: Old Fashioned Banana Bread

I always have a bunch of bananas in the fruit bowl for my morning breakfast, but there are times when I can't eat them fast enough and they turn to mush. That leaves me with two options: freeze them for smoothies of make banana bread.


I'd like to share with you a recipe for Option #2!  This is for gluten-free bread, but you can easily substitute the same amount of wheat or spelt flour in place of the all-purpose gluten-free flour and just eliminate the xanthan gum. You can also modify the recipe to make it oil-free by substituting apple sauce for the oil. It tastes just as fantastic and the bread is still moist and lightly sweet.

Enjoy it for breakfast or as an afternoon snack with some chai tea. It will remind you of the banana bread you ate growing up.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour (or substitute 1 cup gluten-free flour, 3/4 cup brown rice flour, plus 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
1 tsp baking soda1/2 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground flax seed plus 1/3 cup water
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup canola oil (or substitute 1/2 cup apple sauce to make it oil-free)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup organic sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour a large loaf pan. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a food processor, pulse together flax seed mixture, bananas, sugar, canola oil (or apple sauce), and vanilla until creamy with just a few small bits of bananas remaining. Add wet mixture to dry and stir together until no dry lumps of flour remain. (The batter will be thick, but don’t worry!) Fold in nuts. Spread into prepared pan, making the edges and corners higher than in the center. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until top is browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 20 minutes.  Use a knife to gently loosen bread from sides of pan, then invert onto a cooling rack.  You’ll want to dive right in, but be patient and let cool completely before cutting.

  

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Recipe: Dirty Blondies


You'll love this decadent dessert recipe because it's quick and easy and tastes as good as it looks. Plus, you'd never know the secret ingredient is... beans! So it's healthy, too.

Watch how to make it in this quick video and get the recipe below.


Ingredients
1/2 cup quick oats
3/4 cup organic brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 15 oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup apple sauce
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life mini chips)
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Blend all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut in a large food processor until a smooth batter forms. Pulse all but 2 Tbsp each of chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut into batter, then spread into an oiled 8 × 8 pan. Sprinkle reserved ingredients evenly over the top. Bake for around 35 to 45 minutes, or until top is firm and sides are beginning to brown and pull away from the pan. Let cool at least 10 minutes, then gently cut into squares and remove from the pan.  Best after refrigerated several hours or overnight.




Saturday, March 17, 2018

Interview with Bhavani Jaroff on iEatGreen


It was so great being the guest on Bhavani Jaroff's podcast, iEatGreen! We talk about the difference between vegan and plant-based and why I always call myself vegan, how to answer the "what about sustainable meat?" question, what to do when you're the only vegan in your family, and my love of curry. 

Listen here.