Friday, February 16, 2018

Vegan Valentine's Day

One of the biggest challenges many new vegans face is social situations, and particularly what I refer to as "Dating While Vegan." This was the topic of an article featured this Valentine's Day in the Portland Herald Press.

What I always recommend is to be authentic, honest, and respectful, which is generally good practice anyway, but is particularly important for first impressions when dating.  You can read more tips like this in my new book, Eat Vegan with Me, which is excerpted in this article.


Also featured is one of my favorite dessert recipes for the holiday, Vegan Dirty Blondies, made with chocolate chips, pecans, and shredded coconut. Prepare them in an 8"x8" pan, or make them fancy in a pretty tart pan and drizzle with your favorite sauce. They're best enjoyed chilled where they develop a decadent, fudgey consistency.




Sunday, January 28, 2018

Vegan Food Demo - CT Shoreline Vegans



I feel so fortunate to be able to bring delicious vegan food to people! As a private chef, most of the cooking I do is in my clients' homes, and since I don't have a restaurant, group classes are the only opportunity I get to share my creations with larger audiences.


Such was the case this weekend when I gave a "Very Vegan New Year" food demonstration for the CT Shoreline community at the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society in Madison, CT. The free demonstration included instruction in two of my favorite "crowd pleaser" recipes: Eggless Egg Salad and World Peas Salad.


I discussed preparation techniques and ways to modify the recipes for eating on a daily basis or dressing them up for a fancy occasion.


All those in attendance sampled the Eggless Egg Salad with cucumber slices ("cuke scoops" as one person called them), rolled with fire roasted red peppers and baby spinach into pinwheels, and the World Peas Salad garnished with scallion ribbons.


I'm always thrilled to hear that people enjoyed the food and plan to share the recipes with family and friends. This is how we spread the vegan message of making compassion the main course!

Happy New Year!












Monday, January 22, 2018

Very Vegan New Year Cooking Class



I had a great time cooking up a three-course gourmet vegan dinner at The Weekend Kitchen in Essex, CT this weekend. We wined and dined in a gorgeous 18th century inspired farmhouse kitchen and prepared a delicious menu of fresh, seasonal ingredients.



This class provided hands-on instruction on  how to create whole food plant-based recipes perfect for entertaining guests or eating on a daily basis. 



Students learned techniques for balancing color, taste, and texture, maximizing nutrition by using fresh, seasonal ingredients, and incorporating foods high in antioxidants and phytonutrients into their cooking repertoire. 



We created eight recipes from my new cookbook, Eat Vegan with MeThese quick and easy recipes taste as good as they make you feel! 



We started with an appetizer of Endive Leaves with Vegan Caviar and Cashew Crema. This savory start whetted appetites for the meal to follow.



The entree included a Pecan Crusted Tempeh that was marinated in a seasoned tamari and tomato paste sauce, then dipped in a gluten free breading of crushed pecans, nutritional yeast, corn starch, and other ingredients. 

 


This was served on a bed of mashed root vegetables, coconut roasted asparagus, and a savory crimini mushroom gravy. 


We finished our meal with gluten free Dirty Blondies made with coconut, chopped pecans, and chocolate chips. The secret ingredients were Great Northern Beans and oatmeal pureed into the batter to create a rich, dense texture.  The dessert was not only delicious, but heart healthy as well. 



The Dirty Blondies were plated with a cinnamon spiced Maple Pumpkin Butter Sauce that added a bright contrast to the dessert. 



Afterward, we sat down at the long farmhouse table to enjoy the meal we had prepared together. Thank you to Nancy, owner of The Weekend Kitchen, and to everyone for attending this fun class! Happy Vegan New Year! 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Recipe: Blueberry Almond Cobbler

When I'm stuck inside on a snowy afternoon, one of the things I like to do is bake. If you have some frozen berries on hand, consider making this delicious recipe. Think of a cobbler like a giant deconstructed muffin.  The batter goes in first, then as if you forgot to add the berries, you just dump them over the top.  They cook and spread and melt together into a nice yummy mess with the moist cake batter underneath. Top with a generous dollop of coconut whip.


Recipe

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (or substitute 1 cup gluten-free flour, 1/4 cup rice flour, plus 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
12 cup vegan sugar
14 tsp sea salt 
1 12 tsp baking powder 
34 cup almond milk
1/4 tsp almond extract
13 cup vegan margarine, melted
2 cups blueberries
1/3 cup slivered almonds 
13 cup organic sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350 °F. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Stir in milk, almond extract, and melted margarine till combined. Pour batter into an oiled 8-inch square baking pan. In a separate mixing bowl, toss blueberries, almonds, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract together, then sprinkle mixture evenly over batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until firm to the touch and top is lightly browned.


Eat Vegan with Me book launch



The year ended with the launch of my new cookbook, Eat Vegan with Me, and I officially kicked off New Year's Eve with a book signing at ION Restaurant in Middletown, CT. Thank you to Renana Magee for hosting the event and to everyone who showed up with book in hand or stood in line to purchase one!



In case you missed my talk, I shared my Top Ten Lessons Learned from 20 years as a vegan and read excerpts from my book. Details can be found in Part 1 - Conversations, along with nearly 100 familiar yet fabulous recipes you'll want to share with family and friends.



"Ten Lessons from 20 Years as a Vegan"

  1. Be the vegan you wish you had met before you were vegan (do you remember your first vegan?)
  2. Consider every interaction a teaching moment and a learning opportunity
  3. Ask open-ended questions and seek to understand and connect, not “win” an argument 
  4. Don’t get attached to reaping results; scatter seeds instead 
  5.  Keep a "being vegan" journal, write, reflect, then let go
  6.  Guilt is debilitating; accountability is empowering
  7.  Even vegans are human; be there to help each other
  8.  Be kind to yourself first
  9.  Our movement doesn’t need heroes; our movement needs regular, ordinary people like you & me to take action and speak up
  10.  Change requires discomfort, but it's worth it 

And one more - bonus material - when you speak the truth, you discover you're not alone. Never be afraid to say the word "vegan" or identify as vegan. You may just be that person somebody was desperately looking for. 
I'm here for you. Happy New Year!   

Sunday, December 3, 2017

What is your greatest health challenge?

Whether it's digestive issues, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, or autoimmune disfunction, I'm here to help! In the first video of my new health & wellness series, I discuss four steps you can take to get started healing your body right now. 


What is your greatest health challenge that holds you back? Post your question or comment below.


I look forward to connecting with you!