Los Angeles Vegan Potluck – Dia de los Muertos / Halloween-style!

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My Instagram friends and I are throwing another potluck, and this time it is Halloween/Dia de los Muertos-themed!!!  If you live in Southern California, we’d be happy to meet you there!

Here are the details:

Join us for the Dia de los Muertos Vegan Potluck! November 1st at 6pm!! Dress up! Let’s see you in costume!

We (Yvonne: @yvonne_deliciously_vegan, Jazmin: @wonderfulvegan, Andre: @unhealthyvegan, and Shannon: @comfortingvegan) are having a Vegan Potluck outside, on the 2nd floor, off of the top level of the parking lot at the Lincoln Plaza Hotel!

The owner is more than happy to open the rooftop patio located off of the Spirit House Bar to us earlier than normal and is so generous to allow us to bring our own Halloween potluck food to the patio area! It would mean a lot to us, and it would give thanks to him, if you ordered at least one drink from the bar.  No obligation for drinks—we will also have a tip jar available if you’d like to give!  All ages are welcome!  Please comment, below, if you are coming and how many you are bringing with you so we can know how many to expect. This is going to be a super low key, relaxed casual event.  We just all love to hang out and meet new people like you do!  We’d LOVE to have you join us!  Please sign up & tell us what you will bring.

Saturday, November 1st at 6pm

(Bar closes at 2am)

Rooftop off of the parking lot at:

Lincoln Plaza Hotel

123 S. Lincoln Avenue, 2nd Floor

Monterey Park, CA 91755

Parking: Free parking at the top of the parking structure next to the hotel. There’s easy access to the rooftop patio from there. We will have signs up so you can find us!

No cover fee, just bring a vegan dish to share, but please let us know what you are bringing in the comments, below or under any other organizer’s Instagram posts so we know how many people to expect and to see what others are bringing. See you there!

 

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Cooking With Friends: Halloween Extravaganza

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Halloween is just around the corner and my good friend, Ashley, and I want to make your Halloween one to remember!  Ashley is a lifestyle blogger for her blog, Lipstick and Berries, in which she writes about health, beauty and style and creates simple, delicious vegan recipes that are oil-free and low-fat.

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Since we are both obsessed with delicious and nutritious food, we thought it would be a great idea to collaborate on fun and festive recipes.  What better time to combine our vegan talents and get inspired than in the Fall—just in time for Halloween!

 

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I spent a few days in Las Vegas with Ashley, where we put our brains together to come up with a fun, frightful, and ghoulishly good Halloween party menu that will tantalize every mummy’s taste buds!  Since the standard Halloween menu is loaded with tons of refined sugar and fat, we thought it would be a real treat for our readers to get a hold of recipes that are fun, festive, and delicious, while still being vegan and free of oil, gluten, and refined sugar.

 

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This is what we came up with!

Click photo or menu item for the recipe.

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“Caramel” Candy Apples

Feel like an 8-year-old all over again with these fun and delicious “caramel” candy apples.  Although caramel apples typically make an appearance in the Fall season, I foresee these caramel apples being made in my kitchen all-year-round!

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Kabocha Squash and Ginger Soup

Trap your guests’ taste buds with this kabocha ginger soup.  It’s packed with soothing Fall flavors– ginger, nutmeg, and you’ll feel a kick from ghostly white pepper.

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Pistachio-Orange Blood Splattered Cupcakes

Scare up some smiles at your Halloween gathering by baking these creepy muffin-like cupcakes, topped with coconut whip and raspberry blood splatter. These pistachio and orange zest cupcakes are possessed with cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon, and were inspired by Middle Eastern desserts and common Fall spices.

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Zoodle Brains with Pumpkin Kale Pesto

The scary, screaming faces on these jack-o-lanterns with bursting and explosive brains will send shivers down your spine, but it’s the flavorful pumpkin seed kale pesto that will haunt you long after they’re gone.

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Sweet Potato Crabless Crabby Cakes

Creep out guests and ignite their appetites with these sweet potato-laced vegan “crab”cakes.

The mild sweet potato flavor and cayenne kick complement the “crab” flavor in these hearty critters.

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Witch’s Kombucha Brew

Quench your thirst and lust for blood all in one with this hibiscus berry kombucha-spiked pomegranate lemon sparkler.  It’s sweet and sour with a haunting effervescence.

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Grape Snakes

Don’t be scared away by these slithering grape snakes (unless you buy gmo).  They are a cinch to make and are a healthy treat, too! Make sure to buy organic!

These easy Halloween party appetizer and drink recipes will be the haunting hit of your party!

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With cute and creepy savory dishes, frightfully fun snacks, and nostalgic dessert, these simple spook-tacular Halloween menu ideas will be fun for your guests and will leave them with lasting memories for years to come.

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Ashley and I had a blast making all this happen!

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Our collaboration required a lot of hard work, but it was so worth being able to spend time together, getting to know one another better, with the intention of sharing the fruits of our labor with our readers.  Luckily, we didn’t spend all our time in the kitchen.  We also made time to just have fun outside of the kitchen.

 

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Ashley is one of the most genuinely kind and considerate people I have met. She is so full of joy and positivity, which is contagious. I think we have such complimentary personalities, which is a recipe for success when working in the kitchen together, and when brainstorming and bringing ideas to the table. I am so grateful to have become friends with her when I did. We started off as Insta-friends and I can see us being friends for a lifetime.

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Make sure to check out more details on our fun-filled weekend in my previous post!  We interviewed each other so you can learn a little more about us.  My interview is on Ashley’s blog, and my interview questions for Ashley are in my previous post.

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We hope you try our recipes!  If you do, please tag #myeclectickitchen and #lipstickandberries, so we can see what you’ve made and possibly share it with our readers!

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May you have a safe, healthy, and 

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With Love,

Yvonne

 

 

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Cooking With Friends: Ashley Cox

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In late September, I spent a few days in Las Vegas, Nevada, with my good friend, Ashley Cox, of Lipstick and Berries.  We met through Instagram earlier this year and met in person twice before I flew to Las Vegas to stay at her house. She is what most would consider a “Granola Glam Girl”—she’s into health, wellness, high raw vegan food, beauty, and fashion.  In fact, Ashley is a healthy lifestyle expert, beauty professional, plant-based nutritionista, and full-time blogger.  She is my go-to friend for vegan health and beauty product tips.  Believe me, Ashley has tried so many products—she knows what she’s talking about.  I, on the other hand, know more about what works in the kitchen, like sharp knives, how to make gluten-free vegan waffles, and how to properly temper chocolate.  One big thing we have in common is our love for delicious food and nutrition.  We can talk about food and all things food-related for hours.  Since we clicked so well from the very start, we thought it would be a great idea to get together, and to collaborate on fun and festive recipes.  What better time to combine our vegan superpowers and get inspired than in the Fall—just in time for Halloween!
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While in Las Vegas, not only did Ashley and I prepare and “cook” our hearts out, we also spent every day sipping on Glowing Green Smoothies, eating massaged kale salad, while discussing our dreams and goals, learning about each other’s idiosyncrasies, and just getting to know each other better.

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Every day in Las Vegas, we went to Whole Foods Market to check out seasonal and organic produce for inspiration.  I was fascinated by the experience.  We saw a variety of pumpkins, pomegranates, and at just about every turn, I heard Whole Foods employees say, “Hi Ashley,” “Hey there Ashley,” “Haven’t see you in a while, Ashley.”  It wasn’t long before I realized she was a regular at the local Whole Foods.  Ashley did not fail to keep surprising me there.  When she busted out her collection of cake stands that she made for $2 apiece, and she showed me her homemade drink coasters, DIY beauty products, bracelets, and fake fruit collection, she revealed her Martha Stewart, crafty side!

 

Cake Stands by Ashley

Cake Stands by Ashley

 

As a care package, Ashley packed me some teeccino packets, other lovely teas, homemade drink coasters, and DIY beauty products!  So sweet!

As a care package, Ashley packed me some teeccino packets, other lovely teas, homemade drink coasters, and DIY beauty products! She is the sweetest!

I am so thankful for Ashley and her husband, Danny’s, hospitality.  I felt comfortable and at home in their home.  Not only did I get to stay in my own room with an ensuite bathroom, stocked to the nines with any toiletries that I had forgotten to pack, I also loved that their kitchen was stocked to the brim with organic and non-gmo superfoods, just like my kitchen!  For some meals, we ate in—I made them my Chickpea “Fish” tacos, which they seemed to enjoy. Danny even said, “These are the best tacos I have ever had!” :D  We made smoothies and salads, of course, and Ashley introduced me to her delicious No More Blues Blueberry Overnight Oats, which I now make at home for myself.

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We also had a blast eating up all of the food we made for our Halloween collaboration.  Who wouldn’t have fun enjoying zoodle brains, candied apples, and cupcakes, feeling like 8 year olds again?!!

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Talking about treats, it was such a delight when they treated me to front row seats at a show on the Las Vegas strip, called “The Beatles Love” by Cirque du Soleil.  It was really incredible.  The performers were colorful, vivacious, and passionate about what they do.  The music, of course, was wonderful.  It was truly inspiring and had to be one of the best shows I had ever watched. (So good, I want to take Peyman, my mom, sisters and their kids to the show.)

Back to food—one evening, Ashley, a new vegan friend (native to Las Vegas) named Bonnie, and I dined at Panevino — an Italian restaurant with a vegan menu. Ashley and Danny are regulars there, so I noticed that we were given very special service.  We told them to just send us whatever they wanted to our table.  So, the whole meal was a surprise of sorts.  We enjoyed vegan sushi with an Italian twist and pasta 2 ways—one with pesto and another with a saffron “cream” sauce.  To end the meal, we enjoyed a lovely Italian chocolate chestnut cake.  The dinner was made by the talented and enthusiastic Chef Vincenzo Granata, who shares a very similar food and wellness philosophy as Ashley—they both enjoy an oil-free, low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet.

On my last night in Las Vegas, we actually made an encore visit to Panevino.  We went back for the Forks Over Knives event—a book signing and dinner organized by Las Vegan Eatz, to promote the Forks Over Knives Meal Plan book.  There, we met the writers of the book, Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD, as well as the chef for the cookbook, Del Sroufe, and executive producer/director, Brian Wendel.  During the dinner, we tasted recipes from the book.  It was pretty cool getting to meet the people behind the book and the documentary that I highly recommend.

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Ashley is one of the most genuinely kind and considerate people I have met.  She is so full of joy and positivity, which is contagious.  I think we have such complimentary personalities, which is a recipe for success when working in the kitchen together, and when brainstorming and bringing ideas to the table.  I am so grateful to have become friends with her when I did.  We started off as Insta-friends and I can see us being friends for a lifetime.

To learn more about one another, we interviewed each other. Below is Ashley’s interview, and on Ashley’s website, you can find my interview.  Enjoy!

 

Interview with Ashley Cox of Lipstick and Berries

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Y: Can you describe your lifestyle and food philosophy?

A: My philosophy on a healthy lifestyle, is that “vegan” does not have to have a stigma!  Living a healthy plant based lifestyle is for anyone & everyone!

Food is celebratory – but beautiful, whole, plant based foods deserve even MORE of a celebration.  These foods Nurture.  They Heal.  They Revitalize!

I eat, as well as create, Low Fat Whole Foods Plant Based (vegan) recipes!

My background & career in the beauty industry has lead to me to a unique crossroads where I have melded beauty with health on my blog, Lipstick and Berries.  I love creating nutritious recipes, but I also adore creating scrumptious DIY body products that people can use to treat their bodies well on the outside!  I want to bring people into this lifestyle that may not have happened across it otherwise.  I hope that my version of a healthy, happy living encourages more women to “test out” some vegan recipes and that these influences will ultimately change their lives forever!

Y: Have you always been living this way or what triggered the change?

A: Two years ago, when I watched the Forks Over Knives documentary, my life changed considerably!  This movie made me aware of what our health situation was doing to our bodies!  I had to make a change.

I became certified in Plant Based Nutrition through Cornell & T. Colin Campbell Foundation.  Since that time,  I have essentially buried myself into every plant based nutrition book (including but not limited to: The Starch Solution, The China Study, Eat To Live, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease…)

 

Y: What ingredients are must-haves for your fridge and pantry?

A: Strawberries, Blueberries, Bananas, Oranges, Apples, Spinach, Kale, Medjool Dates, Cashews, Pomegranate Juice, Almond Milk, Oats, Nutritional Yeast, Flaxseed, Sweet Potatoes, & Loose Tea!

 

Y: What is your favorite meal to cook/prepare at home for you and your husband, Danny?

A: My Meatless Meatballs are probably my favorite thing to make!  They are a fan favorite!

 

Y: Is there anything you are completely strict about when it comes to your diet and lifestyle?

A: Of course, I avoid animal products in my diet, but I also avoid fake meat substitutes (isolated soy protein…Eeek!!).  At home, I cook low fat, vegan and completely oil-free – I try my best to eat the same way when I am traveling and out to dinner.

 

Y: What routines are non-negotiable in your daily life?

A: Assuming that I wake up on time, I start my morning with a short 10 minute guided meditation that is on my iPhone.  I simply just press play, and stay in bed for ten minutes until my morning meditation is complete.  After that, I have a big glass of water, and do my morning Sun Salutation.  I find that when I start my day with positivity, peace, and great full body stretch, I am ready to take on the day!

 

Y: Where do you find inspiration and motivation to keep living your healthy lifestyle?

A: I find much motivation by keeping a close network of other like-minded healthy plant based friends!  I also have one particular website, nutritionfacts.org, that I read daily to keep myself up to date on the latest nutrition topics and to keep myself reminded that health comes first!

 

Y: You share parts of your life in Las Vegas, NV through your blog.  How has having a blog changed things for you?

A: Well, having a blog has definitely made my life a lot busier! :)  To refer back to what you asked previously…my blog provides complete motivation for my commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  Creating Lipstick and Berries has positively changed my life because it helps keep me accountable! Temptation is out there (especially in Las Vegas) but my healthy-hobby-turned-blog certainly has been a blessing to keep my husband and I on track.

 

Y: What are 2 of your favorite vegan/natural beauty products?

A: I love using Young Living Essential Oils on my skin!  I often use a combination of Lavender + Frankincense + Lemon with coconut oil!  It is a wrinkle reducer and skin brightener all in one!  Plus, it smells amazing!

For cosmetics, I love Tarte!

 

Y: How do you keep your energy level high throughout the whole day?


A: I am a high energy person to begin with, but I think that my energy continues to stay high because I keep moving.  The saying, “A body in motion stays in motion,” rings true!

 

Y: What do you do to keep yourself grounded, happy, and peaceful?

A: Simply put, I am just very thankful for all of my blessings.  I have my health, I have the husband of my dreams (who also has his health), and I keep a close relationship with my friends and family.  I never take for granted what I have been given, and I meditate and give thanks daily.

 

Y: You have a lot of good stuff going on!  Blogging and other new and exciting projects and ventures!  How do you organize your day to stay focused and get things done without feeling overwhelmed?

A: I am an OCD List-Maker!  Seriously.  If I don’t make a list I will get ZERO accomplished.  I make a new To-Do list every night to plan out exactly what I need to accomplish the next day.  I put tasks in order of importance so that I get the pending tasks out of the way quickly!  If there is something I do not finish on my list, then it gets rolled over to the next day!

 

Y: You are glowing from inside out, what’s your secret?

A: Thanks Yvonne!  Well, I drink at least 3 liters of water a day, I drink premium green tea about 3 times a week, and I load up on tons of fruit, raw leafy greens, and cruciferous! The number one reason I carry a healthy glow is because I am truly happy!  A happy soul shines from the inside out!  One cannot hide a happy heart!

 

Y: What kind of advice would you give anyone wanting to become a healthier and happier person but doesn´t know where to start?

A: I think the first step is to realize that YOU ARE WORTH IT!!  Believing in yourself is the #1 step to success.  Surround yourself with positive motivation and inspiring people who also believe in you.  I often hear that many people want to start a healthy lifestyle but they are almost bullied in a sense by other family members for a number of reasons.  I would recommend to that person to find support through online groups, such as starting an Instagram account, signing up in a healthy lifestyle forum, visiting local farmers markets and engaging in conversation with the locals, search for community organizations in the area (there are probably more than one realizes!)  Make friends with other healthy people and be confident!!  Your health is your own and if you want vitality and happiness, you must go and make it happen!

 

Y: What are your top 5 tips to stay happy, healthy and beautiful!

A: *Eat Health Promoting Foods!

*Surround Yourself With People Who Make You Happy!

*Exercise & Stretch!

*Find A Fun Hobby!

*Avoid Stressful Situations As Much As Possible!

 

 To learn more about Ashley, visit her website, Lipstick and Berries!

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“Caramel” Candy Apples

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Although caramel apples typically make an appearance in the Fall, I foresee these caramel apples being made in my kitchen all-year-round!  The “caramel” in this recipe requires little cooking and does not result in a sticky goo!  It is simply made from sweet potatoes, dates, vanilla, and almond milk!  They are a perfect clean and healthy snack or dessert that even your dentist will even approve of!

Once the apples are coated in the “caramel” and topped with chopped walnuts and cacao nibs, it will be difficult for you to hold in your smile.  These caramel apples will release the inner child in you.  They are not only nourishing, but they are so fun to make and eat!   I hope you enjoy these!

 

I want to give Vitacost.com a huge thanks for kindly sending me ingredients that inspired these!  Click on the ingredient links to purchase the same ingredients I used to make the “Caramel” Candy Apples.  Click here for Vitacost.com savings. 

 

 “Caramel” Candy Apples

Servings: 6-8

Time: 45 minutes

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF

 

Ingredients

6-8 apples

6-8 popsicle sticks

 

Caramel:

3/4 cup sweet potato, cooked

8-9 soft medjool dates, pitted

2 tsp vanilla extract (no alcohol)

4 Tbsp almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)

 

Topping:

1 cup walnuts, chopped

½ cup cacao nibs

 

Directions

Caramel:

1. If you don’t mind using a microwave, making this is a snap. Rinse 2 sweet potatoes or one very large sweet potato (enough for 1 cup of cooked sweet potato), place on a plate with about 4 Tbsp water. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for about 5-6 minutes, or until fork tender. Alternatively, steam or bake the sweet potato until fork tender. Steaming on the stovetop is quicker than baking, so if you don’t have a microwave, I would recommend steaming it. Bake at 450 degrees F for 50 minutes, flipping it halfway through. Steam for 15-20 minutes on the stovetop.

Note: I prefer peeling the sweet potato after it has been cooked because it’s time-saving. When it is cooked, cut it lengthwise in the center and open it. Spoon out 3/4 cup of the tender flesh.

2. In a high-powered blender, add the almond milk, vanilla, dates, and sweet potato and blend until smooth.

3. Place the “caramel” into a medium bowl.

 

Assemble:

1. Line 2 large plates or a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2, Remove the stems from the apples. Place the apples stem-side down and push the popsicle sticks into the top of the apple (opposite of the stem-side).

3. Place the chopped walnuts and cacao nibs onto a plate and mix.

4. While holding onto a popsicle stick impaled in the apple, with one hand, use a butter knife to spread the “caramel” around the apple, about 1/18’ thick. Then sprinkle the walnut/cacao nibs onto the “caramel” while turning it.

5. Place the finished “caramel” apples onto the lined plate or baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

 

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Kabocha Squash and Ginger Soup

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My favorite meals during the colder months are soups.  They are soothing, comforting, and nourishing, not to mention easy to make.

In the Fall, I enjoy having a centerpiece of a variety of squash on my dining table, and when it comes to actually eating the squash, I especially enjoy kabocha squash.  It’s so versatile, and I don’t even have to peel it.  With the kabocha squash, I can make yellow curry, stewed vegetables, casseroles, and soups.

Kabocha squash is full of goodness!  It is a good source of iron, vitamin C, some B vitamins, and fiber.  Boost the fiber content by cooking the squash with the skin on.  Yes, the skin is edible!  A single cup of kabocha has 40 calories, compared to butternut squash, which has 60 calories per cup.  Additionally, kabocha has less than half of the carbs of butternut squash (7 grams vs. 16 grams).

The bright orange color of the kabocha squash’s flesh is an indication that it is high in beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is a precursor to Vitamin A in the body.  Vitamin A is important for healthy white blood cells, good immunity and for vibrant eyes, skin and hair.  A single serving of kabocha squash provides 70% of the day’s recommended requirement!

I hope you enjoy all of the benefits of this soup, as well as its Fall-inspired flavors–ginger, nutmeg, and a little kick from ground white pepper!

 

Kabocha Squash Soup

Servings: 4-6

Time: 50 minutes

Brief: This soothing kabocha squash soup is packed with soothing fall flavors – ginger, nutmeg, and a kick of ground white pepper.

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, NF

Ingredients

Soup:

6 cups kabocha squash, seeds removed and cooked

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground white pepper

4 cups vegetable stock

2 Tbsp coconut nectar or maple syrup

1 tsp minced ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground

½ cup coconut cream, almond milk, or vegetable stock

1-2 drops liquid stevia, optional

 

Garnish:

Spiced Cashew Cream:

½ cup cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained

¼ cup filtered water

1/2 garlic clove

3 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce

sea salt to taste, optional

Directions

Soup:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Wash the kabocha squash. On a baking sheet, lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper, place the kabocha squash, and into the oven.

3. Roast for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is fork tender.

4. Slice the squash with a sharp knife, remove the seeds and scoop the flesh from the skin, measuring 6 cups. Once cooled, place the squash flesh into a blender and add 3 cups of vegetable stock, coconut nectar, and ginger. Blend until smooth. If it’s too thick to blend, add more of the stock. Pour into a pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in the remaining 1 cup vegetable stock and return to a low simmer.

5. Season with 1 tsp sea salt, ½ tsp pepper, and nutmeg. If you prefer the soup to be thinner in texture, either add coconut cream (light or heavy), almond milk, or vegetable stock. Season to taste with sea salt and white pepper. If it needs more sweetness, add 1-2 drops of liquid stevia. If you prefer it spicier, add more ground white pepper.

6. Keep warm until serving. Top with spiced cashew cream, if you desire. For the Halloween holiday, make a web by filling a condiment bottle or pastry bag (fitted with a fine tip) with cashew cream.

Spiced Cashew Cream:

1.Add all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. If it is too thick, thin the sauce with filtered water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste for seasoning. If you think it needs salt or more heat, simply add sea salt and more Sriracha.  Blend once more to give it one last mix.

2. Transfer to a squeeze bottle. Draw a spiral shape on the surface of soup; carefully drag a toothpick from the center of the spiral to the perimeter of the soup. Repeat around perimeter to create a spider web. Serve immediately.

 

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Pistachio-Orange Blood Splattered Cupcakes

 

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Did you know that the combination of pistachio, orange zest, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon are flavors often found in Middle Eastern desserts?  When brainstorming for soothing spices that compliment the Fall season, Middle Eastern desserts come to mind.  My Iranian mother-in-law pairs the spices with pistachio and orange blossom or rose water.  Since very few people have access to these special waters, a bit of simple and refreshing orange zest made it’s way into this recipe.  It is quite delightful!  I hope you try it!

For Halloween, if you’d like to make blood spatter cupcakes, top these with a simple coconut whipped cream and do a little Jackson Pollack action with some raspberry couli.

 

I want to give Vitacost.com a huge thanks for kindly sending me ingredients that inspired these cupcakes!  Click on the ingredient links to purchase the same ingredients we used to make these.  Click here for Vitacost.com savings. 

 

Pistachio-Orange Blood Splattered Cupcakes

Servings:  12

Time:  1 hour

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF

Ingredients

Cake:

Dry:

1 ¾ cup oat flour

1 cup coconut palm sugar

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp cardamom, ground

¼ tsp ginger, ground

1 tsp cinnamon, ground

zest of half a medium-large naval orange

1/3 cup roughly chopped pistachios

Wet:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

2 ½ Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

2 ½ Tbsp almond butter

 

Whipped Coconut Cream: (optional for Halloween)

One 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk

1 Tbsp coconut sugar, optional

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, optional

 

Raspberry Couli: (optional for Halloween)

Pint raspberries

1 Tbsp maple syrup

 

Directions

1. Chill a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight.

Cake:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. (Alternatively, you can bake this in an 8-inch or two 6-inch cake pans, lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray.)

3.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.

4.  In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

5.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture just until they combine.

6.  Place 2 heaping Tbsp of batter in each cupcake liner. Alternatively, distribute the batter evenly into the 2 6-inch cake pans or just place the batter in an 8-inch cake pan.

7.  Place the pan on a baking sheet, then into a preheated oven and bake for 27-30 minutes.  The cake should have a little bounce back when pressed.

8.  Cool the cakes in the pans for at least 1 hour.  While the cakes are cooling, make the whipped cream and raspberry couli.

 

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Coconut Whipped Cream:

1.  1.  Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator and leave it there until well-chilled.  I chill mine overnight or for a few days.

2.  Open the can of coconut milk upside down.  There, you will find coconut water- loose liquid.  Pour it out into a bowl or cup to drink, or save for later use in a smoothie.

3.  Carefully scoop out the thick layer into a bowl or mixing bowl of a stand mixer.  Make sure you don’t get liquid in the thick, solidified cream, or it will be difficult to whip and obtain soft peaks.

4.  Turn your mixer or hand beater to high speed, and whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Whip until it becomes light and fluffy with soft peaks.  Mix in coconut sugar, vanilla, or cinnamon.  Whip it some more until combined.  Taste and adjust sweetness, vanilla, or cinnamon flavor.

6. Refrigerate until ready to use. Before using it, whisk it.

 

Raspberry Couli:

1. Wash and drain the raspberries.

2. Blend the raspberries, then stain through a sieve, using a ladel to help the juice through.

3. Add 1 Tbsp maple syrup and mix. Taste and adjust sweetness to taste with either more maple syrup or stevia drops.

 

Assemble:

1. When cupcakes have fully cooled, frost the cupcakes or cake with coconut whipped cream.

2. Dip clean fingertips into the raspberry couli and flick your fingers towards the cupcakes to spray the cupcakes with raspberry couli “blood”.

3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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Zoodle Brains with Pumpkin Kale Pesto

ZoodleBrain1

Zoodles are noodles made out of zucchini, nothing more.  Using a julienne peeler or spiralizer, the zucchini is cut into noodles.  Whenever I make zoodles, I usually dress them in a pesto or top them with marinara. This pesto has a lovely mix of basil, kale, and spinach, and because this recipe was is Fall- and Halloween-inspired, pumpkin seeds were thrown into the mix.   The end result is really delicious.

After tossing the zoodles with pumpkin kale pesto, throw in some sliced grape tomatoes for more texture and sweetness. When served with my Pink Peppercorn vegan “Goat Cheese,” it is even more satiating and scrumptious.

For a quick, raw, and satisfying meal, try this dish. You will be happy you did!

 

Zoodle Brains with Pumpkin Kale Pesto

Servings:  4

Time:  20 minutes

Diet:  V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF, NF, CFNF, R

 

Ingredients

Zoodles:

4 medium zucchini

 

Pumpkin Kale Pesto:

1 cup basil leaves

¼ cup kale, stems removed

2 Tbsp spinach

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

4 Tbsp filtered water

¼ tsp sea salt

½ tsp fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

1 shake or pinch of cayenne pepper

 

Other Ingredients:

16 grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4 orange bell peppers, optional for Halloween

 

Directions

Zoodles:

1. Make zoodles using a julienne peeler or a spiralizer. When using a julienne peeler, carefully peel the zucchini as you would a carrot, making long “noodles”. When using a spiralizer to make zoodles, follow the manufacturer’s directions.

 

Pistachio Kale Pesto:

1. Place all of the Pumpkin Kale Pesto ingredients into a food processor or blender, and pulse until fully pureed and sauce-like in consistency.

 

Bell Pepper Jack-o’-lanterns: (optional)

1. Carve faces in your peppers. To do this, cut a round section on the top of the pepper. Discard the seeds and scrape away the insides. Being very careful, begin to carve the jack-o’-lantern face. When complete, set aside.

 

Assemble:

1. Toss the zoodles with enough pesto to coat, and

a)    place onto a plate. Add about 8 grape tomato halves to the zoodles, and if you have it, a slice of Pink Peppercorn Vegan “Goat Cheese”. Serve immediately.

b)    Toss in the sliced tomatoes and stuff each bell pepper with zoodles and tomatoes, replacing the top of the pepper once filled.

 

ZoodleBrain1

 

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Sweet Potato Crab-less Crabby Cakes

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Make the most of the fall harvest with this sweet potato “crab” cake recipe. Though sweet potatoes are available year-round, they are at their sweetest in the fall and winter.

The mild sweet potato flavor and cayenne kick complement the “crab” flavor in these hearty cakes. You may be asking yourself how it is possible to make a vegan “crab” cake taste crab-like. Well, it ‘s amazing how well hearts of palm can mimic the texture of fresh crab meat and how sea kelp seasoning, dulse flakes, Old Bay seasoning, and ume plum vinegar can add flavors reminiscent of seafood in this recipe.  Served with a slightly spiced aioli, these sweet potato “crab” cakes are every bit enjoyable.  When serving this as a main course, I suggest serving with a big kale salad. Enjoy!

 

Sweet Potato “Crab” Cakes

Servings: 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes

Brief: The mild sweet potato flavor and cayenne kick complement the “crab” flavor in these hearty cakes.

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF

 

Ingredients:

Aoli:

½ cup cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained

¼ cup filtered water

1/2 garlic clove

3 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce

sea salt to taste, optional

 

Crab Cakes:

2 ¼ cups sweet potato, diced and cooked

¼ cup jalapeno, finely chopped

¼ cup green bell pepper, finely chopped

15 oz. can hearts of palm, cut into fourths

½ tsp sea kelp delight seasoning or dulse flakes, optional

2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

¼ cup plain cashew cream or plain almond yogurt

2 tsp dijon mustard

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp plain dry gluten-free breadcrumbs plus about ¾ cup for coating

¼ tsp ume plum vinegar

3 dashes cayenne pepper

grapeseed or olive oil for frying, optional

Note: You can also these with gluten-free panko breadcrumbs

 

Other Ingredients:

2 red bell pepper, optional

 

Directions:

1. Soak cashews overnight in filtered water.

2. Make the aoili. Add all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. If it is too thick, thin the sauce with filtered water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste for seasoning. If you think it needs salt or more heat, simply add sea salt and more Sriracha.  Blend once more to give it one last mix. Set sauce aside.

3. In a skillet, add jalapeno pepper, bell pepper and diced sweet potato until crisp-tender for about 5 minutes. If it sticks to the pan, add a little vegetable stock or filtered water.

4. Pour 1 cup of mixture into food processor and pulse until it is a coarse puree.

5. In a large bowl, squeeze hearts of palm to break into shards.  Add puree and remaining sautéed vegetables to bowl, along with old bay seasoning, parsley, cashew cream, Dijon mustard, ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs, ume plum vinegar and cayenne pepper and stir until thoroughly combined.  Taste the mixture, adjust for seasoning, and mix.

6. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Place breadcrumbs on a plate.

7. Create ¼ cup patties of the mixture and roll into breadcrumbs to coat. Transfer patties onto the lined baking sheet until they’re ready to be cooked. Makes 9 “crab” cakes.

8. You can either fry or bake these. To bake these, place the “crab” cakes on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. At the halfway point, flip the “crab” cakes.

9. Alternatively, you can fry these. Pour 1/8 inch oil in skillet and heat oil on medium heat to 350 degrees F.

10. Fry one side of the cake at a time at about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Wipe out skillet and clean oil before frying remaining cakes. Line a plate with paper towels. Place the fried “crab” cakes on the paper towels to drain the oil.

11. Serve hot with aoli and a salad.

12. If you want to make festive Halloween crabs with these cakes, slice red bell peppers into strips and place 3 bell pepper “legs’ on each side. Make crab eyes by adding dots of aoli where the eyes are located.

 

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Witch’s Kombucha Brew

Punch

Quench your thirst and lust for blood all in one with this hibiscus berry kombucha-spiked pomegranate and lemon sparkler. It’s a little sweet and sour with a nice effervescence. Depending on how large your party is, this recipe would need to be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. Cheers, “my pretties”!

 

Witch’s Kombucha Brew

Servings: 3-4

Time: 8 hours

Diet: V, GF, DF, SF, CFNF, NF, R

 

Ingredients

Ice Hand: (optional)

Latex glove

Filtered water

 

Brew:

4 cups sparkling lemonade (Whole Foods carries it. Also Perrier.)

2 cups hibiscus berry kombucha (we used Kevita brand. You can use any red kombucha)

½ cup 100% pomegranate juice

 

Directions

Ice hand:

Fill the latex glove with filtered water, making sure there the entire glove is filled with water. Place on a plate in the freezer and freeze overnight or until completely frozen.

 

Brew:

1. In a punch bowl, add the lemonade, kombucha, and pomegranate juice. Stir well.

 

Assemble:

With dry clean hands, cut the latex glove with scissors and remove the latex from the ice hand, and carefully place it into the punch bowl.

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Grape Snakes

GrapeSpider1

Need more healthy food options and décor at your next Halloween party? These grape snacks serve a dual purpose—they make wonderful Halloween decoration and are a super clean snack! Just a few simple steps and you have yourself some creepy grape snakes!

 

Grape Snakes

Servings:  3-4

Time:  15 minutes

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF, R

Ingredients

1-2 bunches organic black grapes

1 Tbsp cashew cream

1 carrot

2 goji berries

 

Directions

1. Wash the grapes very well and dry them.

2. Make the snake tongue. Peel the carrot and chop the ends off. Cut them into long rectangular slices. Cut a triangle out of the end of each slice to make a snake tongue. Cut a slit at the crown of 4 (or however many snakes you plan to make) grapes, then place the rectangular side of the carrot tongue into the slit. Place them right the edge of your serving plates, with the tongues faces out.

3. Make the snake eyes. Slice the goji berries to make evil red snake eyes. Using a toothpick, place a little cashew cream (which will be used as glue) where the goji eyes should go. Place the goji berries onto the cashew cream to stick.

4. Behind the snake heads, place grapes down onto the plate, with a little cashew cream (to stick to the plate, optional) at their base. Place onto the serving plate, artfully, curvy, and snake-like in pattern, and voila! You have your grape snakes!

 

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