Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vegan Junkie | Tricks for Treats

Veganized Eggplant Benny + Spaghetti Squash Hashbrowns
SALAD.  When I go out to eat without researching my options through online menus and ask if they have any vegan options, nine out of ten times I will be suggested a plain, house salad ... hold the ______ fill in the blank.  Even my own family calls me a "leaf eater."  Usually in the context of, "...Well, we don't eat leaves like you."  MY OWN FAMILY! No matter how many times I share my great recipes and dishes with them they'll still, and always will claim (half joking, half not) that I'm a strict, militant leaf eater.  

Of course, I eat more vegetables than the average american, putting them into dishes you wouldn't think to put them in from breakfast to desserts.  I've found that vegan cooking is much more fun in comparison to cooking vegetarian dishes with eggs, cheese, meat + other dairy fats.  It has allowed me to become creative and a bit daring in the kitchen.  Still new to veganism this year (since March) I'm constantly problem solving and discovering new tricks and trying new ingredients.  For instance, when I need an egg sometimes I use ground flax seed and water (flax eggs) or I'll use a grain free substitute for cornstarch, arrowroot and mix with water in place of eggs for pancakes.  Veganism isn't limiting in the slightest, I've been introduced to so many different methods of preparation and healthier ways of eating through plant based subs. 

Vegans get cravings too and staying true to your healthy, vegan ways you too can enjoy comfort foods.  With a sense of adventure and an open mind, you can veganize pretty much anything!  In this post I will show + share veganized snacks + sweet treats.  So this is my TAKE THAT! post.  You can be a vegan and still have comfort foods!  At the very least, indulge with your eyes. :)

Read This Book!
I am a HUGE fan of Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules:  An Eater's Manual.  In this book he gives simple "rules" to follow to maintain and guide you through and to a healthy diet.  He's been on any given food documentary I've watched promoting organic and plant based diets and is a huge advocate for local farming and informing the public about the unfair subsidization of farms from the government.  Even though he is firm on his food morals + views, he is still a legit guy.  He was even on Stephen Colbert's The Colbert Report, bringing Stephen Colbert home brewed beers.  Colbert calls him a food nazi and opens and offers Pollan a bag of BUGLES! HA!  Pollan, like the cool guy he is politely declines and laughs it off having a good time knowing it's all in fun and continues explaining his book and a few of his rules to a rowdy, joke filled Colbert.

One of those rules from said book, which I've read and loved, is rule #45 | Eat All the Junk Food You Want, as Long as You Cook It Yourself.  Watch (above) for Michael's take on this rule of thumb to junk food. I completely agree, because when I try to make things I know aren't my healthiest options, it is usually quite the lengthy, process.  One that I may refrain from attempting again for a while after I get to enjoy the "fruits" of my very hard kitchen labor.  This is the point, exactly.  

MAJOR labor of love for my stomach.
One great example would be making real, hearty mashed potatoes.  Potatoes are linked to  high rates of obesity considering that potatoes are starch packed, which breaks down in your body into sugar.  Add the deep fat frying, and other food preparation methods which depletes nutrients and makes it even less healthy for you.  But forget that most americans think potatoes are an adequate source of their daily vegetables...I too, a native Idahoan have the craving for homemade mashed potatoes.  So, one night, I reunited with the potato peeler, an old friend from many, many years ago and began the simple task, what I forgot was a not so fun task, of peeling potatoes.  At least an hour later and a severely sore set of wrists I knew if I wanted the delicious bowl of goodness, every minute of wrist-breaking, potato-skinning peel would be worth it.  Kind of like a pain is beauty motto, but more like pain is gluttony! 
Needless to say, the organic potatoes, vegan margarine, hemp milk, garlic + nutritional yeast mashed potatoes was both satisfying to my craving and remained a vegan dish and greatly beneficial to my body even if it was a ...(gasp) comfort food!

I can't remember the last time I've wanted nacho cheese Doritos.  I've definitely eyed friends eating my ever-so-missed white cheddar heaven that is Smart Pop, but never longed for a bag of Cooler Ranch, Late Night Taco or whatever flavor Doritos is available in these days. However, the other day when I was searching for pumpkin recipes I stumbled upon a veganized Doritos recipe and thought, "I'll just go ahead and bookmark that!" You know...for that one day I decide I need Doritos...HA. That one day was yesterday.  I decided to give it a go.  It was surprisingly easy, but again much more time consuming than opening a plastic bag - unless you're all leg strength and not so much arm strength like myself.
Either way, the mixing up of spices and nutritional yeast, cutting up tortillas, lightly marinating them in olive oil, shaking it all up and baking in the oven isn't that difficult.  There is trying a bite or two or 6 while the second batch is baking away, but in the end it is still low yield.  8 tortillas isn't exactly the bulk bag you might buy for a family.  However, for a single person, maybe two, having a few here and a few there, this makes a sensible, smarter snack.  

Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes | vegan gluten + grain free
Most importantly, flippin' out-of-this-earth delicious.
I have a recipe for a great savory snack, but isn't it always fun to have your dessert first?  It absolutely is!  I wanted to do at least one savory snack + one sweet treat for this post.  Facing the awful problem of having a bit more extra vegan grain free pumpkin pie with homemade gingersnap crust from my last post than I'd thought I'd have left, I knew what needed to be done: Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes!  

I first made a fresh batch of almond milk this morning.  

Almond Milk = 1 cup of soaked almonds (soaked for 12 hours)
Drain, rinse, drain.  Blend in a high powered food processor with 4 cups of purified water for about 5-10 minutes.  Pour into cheesecloth over a bottle and then squeeze the milk through cheesecloth to keep almond meal out.  Easy does it!

Make Veganized Ice Cream 

Freeze two bananas.  Mix frozen banana pieces in a food processor with a tablespoon of honey, fresh almond milk and silken tofu (about a 1/4 cup of each) 'til you have a thick, ice creamy consistency without banana chunks.  

Add a generous slice of pumpkin or any other pie of your choice and blend. The banana ice cream will make a great base that will compliment any kind of dessert pie nicely.  I garnished my milkshake with leftover gingersnap crumbs. This batch makes two small, but filling and satisfying shakes.  Bottoms up!

Now that we've pleased our sweet tooth a bit early, let's move onto a slightly more nutritious snack.  I just used up some of my pumpkin pie, but I still have pumpkin puree that I can do a number of things with.  I have made a completely raw zucchini hummus before, but never thought to put it into hummus.  I found an excellent recipe online and tweaked it to my liking and came up with a garlic pumpkin hummus. Warm up your pitas, this recipe is dynamite!
This one goes out to all my ladies in the 208 + the Sunshine State!


Pumpkin Hummus  
  • 2 c cooked organic chickpeas
  • 1/4 c pureed pumpkin (mine was homemade)
  • 1/4 c vegetable broth (mixed purified water with Better Than Buillon - Vegetable)
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 lg. garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  1. Put chickpeas into food processor, blend until smooth
  2. Add pumpkin, vegetable broth and tahini - blend until creamy and smooth
  3. Add garlic and sea salt to taste, blend
  4. Garnish with paprika, parsley flakes and a light drizzle of olive oil
  5. Other optional toppings:  pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, roasted red bell peppers or whatever floats your boat
  6. Enjoy with warm fluffy pita or cold, crisp veggies 
Now that your munchies are in check, I bid you farewell to digest!
And if you didn't get enough of the number 11 this week...
11 more days until Thanksgiving!!

Kisses + Side Dishes!
Besos, Besos ♡ Adriana


  1. Interesting thought re. mashed potatoes: Stop peeling them!!! Get Yukon Golds, Scrub them, quarter them and boil them. Healthier, easier and, I think, tastier. Tonight, I made a comfort food dinner, and the potatoes were the easiest part.

  2. Thanks for the input, Lori! So, this method with Yukon Golds -skin on- works with mashed potatoes? I've always felt like I was getting rid of nutrients, but I never liked the skin on russets incorporated into my mashed potatoes. Either way, I'll give yours a go :)