Tag Archives: Vegan

Giveaway with Tastes Happy :)

 

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It’s giveaway time!  One of my family friends, Amanda Kim, recently opened an organic and gluten-free bakery in Washington state, called Tastes Happy! They sell food you can feel good about, using local, organic, non-gmo ingredients.  All of their goods are free of refined ingredients and they have allergy-friendly options, too.  An added bonus, they use eco-friendly packaging and labels!

I teamed up with Tastes Happy to give away the following to one lucky participant:

1) Toasted Coconut Granola

2) Chocolate Chia Granola

3) Cinnamon Raisin Granola

4) Pear Cranberry Spread

5) Pear Spread

6) Apple Cranberry Spread

7) My Eclectic Kitchen iPhone App or eBook

8) My Eclectic Kitchen organic cotton tote bag

(Yes, they are vegan!)

The granola is really yummy and perfect to top your nana ice cream, smoothie bowls, banana crunch pops, #cocoyo with! The spreads are perfect for toasts, crackers, to enjoy with vegan cheese, or to add to cocoyo, or #parfaits.

Super easy to enter. Simply:

(In Instagram)

1) Like this post, http://instagram.com/p/ynSTKXAjhV/?modal=true

2) Follow @tastes_happy and me,  @yvonne_deliciously_vegan

3) Tell us something about yourself

4) Tag 3 friends

Contest is open worldwide and ends on February 9, at 11pm.

For those who cannot wait to get their hands on Tastes Happy goodies, visit their website, www.tasteshappy.com to check out their product line, and use coupon code, ECLECTIC for 10% off your order!

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Green Smoothies and a Holiday Giveaway with JUNIEblake

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I love the holidays and I am loving my new Laura dress by JUNIEblake, a clothing line designed and manufactured in Arizona!

This dress is perfect for holiday parties, where I plan to sip on green smoothies or vegan no-egg nog.  I also plan on devouring lots of vegan sweets and savories, of course.  I can’t wait!

This is my favorite time of year because it’s the one time of year that my huge family of 5 older sisters, our husbands, their 16 kids, my mom, and our extended family get together.  I love my family and how we carry on our holiday traditions, so it’s something I look forward to every year.  Can you imagine how busy I am this time of year?  With recipe development, buying holiday gifts, and attending party after party, I barely have time to brush my hair!  Luckily, green smoothies are a cinch to make–you’ll see when I share my recipe, below.

When JUNIEblake sent me the Laura dress, I was so ecstatic because I haven’t had time to shop for myself.  It was such a wonderful gift–just what I needed!

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I partnered up with my friends at JUNIEblake to give a special gift to one of you.  If you’d also like to own this dress or any of their other modest holiday dresses or clothes, enter our giveaway to win a $30 gift card in time for the holidays!  You can even give the $30 gift card to someone special as a holiday present!  Here are all of the details.

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This is mainly an Instagram contest, but you can also enter on Facebook and Twitter.  The contest is open worldwide and ends on December 20 at 11pm PST.  The winner will be chosen randomly via the #MEKGiveaway hashtag!  Get posting and good luck!

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More on the Laura dress.  What I love about it is the fabric.  The gold shimmers and shines, making it very festive.  I also like the pleats in the front and back of the dress.  If you happen to overeat at a party, like I will sometimes do, the pleats can hide any sign of belly bulge.  Speaking of bulge, when I’m away from home, I will sometimes accidentally  consume gluten, which makes me severely bloated (I can look 5 months pregnant), so the pleats can help hide a bloated belly, too!  As you can see, this dress is a win all around–it’s a comfy, warm fabric, it’s stylish, and it just screams holiday party!  If you prefer more color, search JUNIEblake‘s website for more styles!

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Now, here is my green smoothie recipe.  My husband and I have 16 ounces of it every morning for breakfast, at least 30 minutes after we enjoy our warm lemon water.

There are so many health benefits that we can reap from these green smoothies.  Just to name a few– beautiful skin, less puffiness around the eyes, calcium, iron from the dark leafy greens; parsley and cilantro pulls heavy metals out of fat cells; fiber and electrolytes from the celery; and lemon is packed with vitamin C, which helps the body absorb the iron in the greens and  helps support the liver, our main fat-burning organ

My green smoothies will keep you full in the morning or afternoon and will give you all the nutrients you need.  Just a note, I also have another 16 ounces as an afternoon snack on some days.  It is like fuel, so energizing!

This recipe is my adaptation of Kimberly Snyder’s glowing green smoothie that Peyman likes best.  I hope you try it and love it as much as we do!

Cheers!

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Green Smoothie

Servings: 4

Time: 7 minutes

Diet: V, GF, DF, SF, SRF, NF, CF, R

 

Ingredients (all organic). 

2 cups of filtered water

1 handful of cilantro

1 head of romaine lettuce, base cut off

2-3 big handfuls of spinach or kale

4 stalks of celery

1 gala apple

1 ripe pear

1 ripe banana (spotted)

juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp of turmeric, optional

1 tsp spirulina, optional

Directions

In a blender, add 2 cups of water, cilantro, romaine and spinach.  Cover and blend from medium to high just until it is completely blended.  Add more spinach and water if it looks too thick.  Blend from medium to high speed.  Add the celery, apple (seeds removed), pear (seeds removed), banana, turmeric, spirulina and lemon juice.  Blend from medium to high speed until smooth.  Enjoy!

I hope you’ll try this recipe and get inspired to start your days with my green smoothies!

 

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Photo Credit: Riva Takahashi

 

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Giveaway Contest & Interview with Jazmyn Smith

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I teamed up with Jazmyn Smith for giveaway to celebrate the launch of her new website, Raising Vegans!  This fantastic prize pack includes the following:

1 – Your choice of a My Eclectic Kitchen iTunes app or eBook

2 – Blood Tight Apparel tote bag of your choice

3 – Vegan Sidekick  1st edition comic book

4 – Best Simpsons pin that ever was!

 

Super Simple Rules:

1. Repost the giveaway photo

2.  Follow and tag @yvonne_deliciously_vegan and @raisingvegans

3. Hashtag #veggengiveaway and #vegan

The winner will be selected randomly via the #veggengiveaway hashtag!  The contest runs until Friday, December 12 at 11pm PST.  You may enter once a day on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as well!  Get posting and good luck!

My Facebook: My Eclectic Kitchen App & My Eclectic Kitchen

My Twitter: My Eclectic Kitchen

 

I interviewed Jazmyn the other day, so you can get to know who is behind this giveaway and the new Raising Vegans blog!

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Name: Jazmyn Smith

Origin: Australian

Current city: Brisbane, Queensland
Occupation: During my pregnancy and for the past six months since giving birth to our precious baby boy, I have had time to improve and expand upon my passion for all things food! I’ve been spending time experimenting and crafting unique recipes, not only for our new website but for our ultimate goal of opening our town’s first ever Vegan restaurant. It’s an inspiring time of rapid personal growth, for sure!

Can you describe your lifestyle and food philosophy?
I am still young – I come from a childhood of meat and 3 veg, like most other Australians. It has only really been in the past two or three years that I have started paying attention to the important role food plays, and so my ideas and comfort zones are forever changing. Alas, my food philosophy is also forever shifting, but always toward a more minimalistic and nutritious one – especially stemming from the thought ‘would I feed that to my baby?’. If the answer is no, then it’s probably not such a great option for us either. For example, I used to be pretty flexible with buying generic pastas, breads and rice – whereas now, wholemeal is my go to. That’s a small example, but it sums up that gradual improvement of our family’s diet pretty well.
If it’s not nourishing your body, and if it’s not made with love, enthusiasm, and conciousness, then I don’t believe it’s worth ingesting. A high quality, nutrient dense diet is too important, for all its ripple effects, to shrug off as ‘someone else’s lifestyle’.

Have you always been living this way or what triggered the change?
Absolutely not! Though I had been a vegetarian on and off through primary and high school, I had no solid foundation to grow from. All I knew was that eating animals felt wrong – but it was 100% ‘normal’; even now I don’t know many vegetarian/vegans in my immediate social group or family. As a young kid, all I had was my instincts, and it took time to grow to trust them, as well as to educate myself enough on the farming industry so that my instincts evolved into beliefs and truths. I made the final decision to follow a vegan diet when I had moved out of home when I was almost 16. I had just moved away from my step fathers dairy farm. I have never looked back. My health improved beyond belief and my passion for veganism has only grown with each year that’s passed. I believe that many young children feel this way about consuming meat – that’s why vegetarianism is a ‘phase’ that many of them test. However, without education and support from those around them, they may never reach that final turning point, where the switch just flicks, and one realises, ‘ah, that’s what’s wrong with it all!’

Have you noticed any changes in your life when eating a more plant-based diet?
Within the first year of becoming a vegan, I lost 25kg! I had been obese for my childhood and teenage years up until that point. I also struggled with deep mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and symptoms of schizophrenia – all which I took medication for, and all which I no longer need medication for! I could attribute these improvements to a few lifestyle changes, but none more so than changing to a plant based diet. It only makes sense that if you take care of yourself, your body, mind and spirit will respond accordingly.

Besides health aspects, there are social observations which I think every vegan realises at one point or another. I could write a book about those, but let me sum it up by saying that we have so much capability as a species, but equal amounts of cognitive dissonance! Sometimes it is a very hard truth to live alongside, other times it is a source of encouragement for working that little bit harder to spread the vegan message.

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Is there anything you are completely strict about when it comes to your diet and lifestyle?
Firstly, of course, animal products. There are no “what if’s” about it. I can accept that others draw their lines at certain products – eggs or honey for example, but I think it is inevitable that as you grow with your vegan lifestyle, that it should only become more refined, and the difficulty of breaking attachments to certain foods dies away. Lifestyle wise, my strongest belief is to surround yourself with those who enhance your best attributes and who make you feel good. I won’t tolerate people or groups who have a negative affect on myself or my family. Life is too short to waste on those kinds of things – fill every day with love, give and take as much as you can from those who mean the most! Be kind and expect it in return. Etc etc!

Where do you find inspiration and motivation to keep living your healthy lifestyle?
As my healthy lifestyle is greatly linked to my love for cooking, I find that the most part of my inspiration comes from taking a trip to the health food store and finding a new ingredient that I haven’t worked with before. There are some wonderful, strange things tucked away on the highest shelves and the quite dark corners of those places, I tell you! Other times, it’ll be the weather. The weather is a fantastic point of direction for what I feel like eating – it’s Spring here in Australia at the moment, and while I’ve never followed a raw food diet, I’ve never eaten so many creative, colourful, beautiful raw recipes in my life than I have this season! Other sources include different patterns (‘what’s a recipe that would match this fabric?’) or scouting through the many incredible home cooks on Instagram. All of these things invigorate and motivate me to continue with my food journey!

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Would you say that your way of eating and living have affected you on your spiritual path? (if so, in what way?)
(Tree hugging vegan alert)
Oh, is there anything better than sitting in the sun with a belly full of fresh fruit and meditating while the breeze rolls around you and nature sings!? (Not many things, I’m sure!) I’d say that in that sense, a plant based diet has shaken up many of my preconceptions about life here on earth. I’ve not been devout to any faith in my life, excluding when I was a child being raised by Anglicans, but I do feel that the deeper my appreciation for wholesome, natural foods grows, my appreciation for the earth it came from grows, too. The earth and it’s nature is where I place my greatest respect and devotion.

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How do you handle social situations as being vegan? (Do you find it difficult? Please share your some advice how to handle social situations)

Growing up, I have always been somewhat assertive and vocal in my belief for justice – but only in recent years have I refined those things to work for me, and not against me. My passion for veganism began in high school, and we all had Facebook, which was great for sharing my thoughts on all these new things I was learning (okay, perhaps I have been a little more ‘militant vegan’ in the past), but it was not so well received by peers. I completed high school in a right wing, rural farming community, which I think links to the attitudes and intentional opposition toward my veganism that I received at every turn for a long time. I don’t want to lump everyone who comes from those backgrounds into one basket, as I have certainly seem some of those who most opposed my views transform and do 180 turns on their own views over the years, but I believe that in general it had a lot to do with it. I would post a status with some information on the farming industry and would then have to spend the evening debating with three or four individuals about literally any argument you’ve ever heard against veganism. It was a really trying learning curb for me, as I didn’t have all the answers back then, nor the emotional capacity to not take it all to heart. I find now though, especially since I have found my life partner who is also a passionate vegan, that the more comfortable and confident I am with my reasons for being a vegan, the more others accept it, some even are inspired, and some even have thanked me for being their guide into veganism. Family has been the toughest crowd to have ‘the vegan conversation’ with, though I hear this is quite common. Generally now, I try to avoid meals with my family if I know that there is a lot of non-vegan food involved, and that is not to say that I don’t wish to be spending time with them, for I love them dearly, it is just to avoid the frustration and emotional struggles I encounter when seeing others consume meat based meals. The world is increasingly becoming more comfortable with the ideals of vegans, and I think it will only be easier for each new generation to be accepted for their beliefs on this matter. My only advice to other vegans would be to continue to educate yourself, and when you do find yourself being asked questions by those around you, respond diplomatically and matter of fact-ly. It is an important topic, that’s for sure, but we needn’t start wars over it. Stay peaceful, stay switched on – the world will catch up.

What ingredients are must-haves for your fridge and pantry?
Currently, 1kg buckets of hummus (yes, we have them here!), nutritional yeast, cous cous and bananas are staples that we are never without. I feel that hemp seeds and saurkraut are about to make their way on to that list shortly.

How do you keep your energy level high throughout the whole day?
I’ve found that the most effective addition to a nutritous plant based diet for keeping yourself feeling energised through the day is to drink water at every chance you have. I actually have a couple of rules for myself that help to remember to drink enough water: ‘never turn down a glass of water if someone offers it’, and to only ever purchase water as opposed to other beverages when travelling or out shopping etc. Also, find a unique water bottle that you really love – this will make keeping it around more of a priority.

When looking back, could you give three changes you have done in your life that has shifted your life to new levels? (and what it has done to you)
First, and perhaps most importantly, my move from home to independence at a young age. I believe this was the ultimate test of becoming aware of myself, which was necessary to survive back then. As I said before, if you are not surrounded by people who mean the most to you and bring out all the good in you, then you are probably wasting a good part of your life that you will not get back! Find your safe, happy space, and watch how much you flourish. Secondly, my transition to veganism, for all reasons mentioned above! And lastly, my decision to have a son with my incredible partner. Mothering is a natural extension of my compassion, empathy and patience, and it only builds these traits stronger. Plus, how cute are babies?! Especially ours, and I’m pretty sure that’s not even bias.

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What are your daily health routines?
As well as nourishing ourselves with good quality foods, my partner and I train weights together most nights. He is far more experienced in this than I am, and has been ridiculously helpful and encouraging with my journey into it. It is an incredible blessing to have someone who knows what they’re talking about there to guide me from the start and through every new level that I reach. Training weights is an incredibly important physical feat, and I am glad to see the outdated attitude that ‘weights are for men, cardio is for women’ is shifting and balancing out. Yoga however is my personal favourite. I only started six months ago after giving birth to Finn, but it has already taught me so much about the importance of physical and mental strength, balance and focus.

Your top 5 tips to stay happy, healthy and beautiful! (and a short description to each)
1. Be honest with yourself – One gift that I have been given from some time in my early years is a fantastic ability to self reflect. I believe that it can be learnt and utilised, but the most important thing in self reflection is being able to be really honest with yourself. Once you can do this, you will make better, healthier choices in all aspects of your life.
2. Be good to others – Do unto others what you would want for yourself. No random act of kindness has ever been worthless. It is amazing what you will discover in some people if you give them the chance to feel loved and appreciated! Plus, it will always make you feel good!
3. Learn more about food – there are libraries full of information about food and what eating it means for your own personal health and wellbeing. This information grows by the day. Pick up a food, google the heck outta it, and there’s your starting point. You’ll find more questions to ask about your food with each new piece of information you come across. So much to know, so much room to improve!
4. Become a food minimalist – by this I mean, reduce the pre-packed, processed stuff! Make your condiments from scratch, buy your produce fresh, and if buying packaged goods always choose the brand with the least additives.
5. Never stop trying new things – there are infinite adventures to be had. You have an unknown number of pages to be filled in your book. Never stop exploring, experimenting and getting out of your comfort zone – don’t leave a half written story!

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What kind of advice would you give anyone wanting to become a healthier and happier person but doesn´t know where to start?
Education is key, I will say it a million more times before I die, because a million more people are going to say ‘I want to get healthy, but I have no idea how to!’. The internet, though not always 100% accurate or conclusive, is a great tool for learning, no matter where you’re starting from. I believe that true happiness starts with good health. Focus on a nutrient dense, plant based diet, learn how to cook and then cook what you love, and you will be sewing the seeds for happiness.

If you could go back in time and tell your younger self any wise words, what would you say?
You will have absolutely no use for knowing how to code your myspace profile in 5 years. Please, step away from the computer!

What´s your favorite quote? (and shortly why!)
‘Success is never owned, it is rented, and the rent is due every day’

Instagram: @raisingvegans

Website: raisingvegans.jimdo.com (SHORTLY TO BE) raisingvegans.com.au

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Thanksgiving Giveaway Contest

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With Thanksgiving around the corner, Gina Ragnone  aka @GranolaBitch on Instagram (my friend and owner of vegan restaurant Fala Bar and Gigi’s Remix), and I partnered up to give thanks to our readers by offering you a chance to win an amazing giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive all that is in this photo, which includes:
-Nutribullet PRO 900 series magic bullet
-PhilosophieMama’s PhilosophieLove Green Dream superfood protein powder and Berry Bliss superfood coconut butter
-Lorna Jane Active by Lorna Jane Clarkson – Nourish book, fitness towel, two pairs of socks (one for barre/Pilates), and a move nourish believe bracelet
-Essential Livingfoods Superfood smoothie mix
-Agent Nateur toxin-free hand mixed deodorant
-Bites of Luv vegan and gluten free cookies and raw bar
-Gigi’s Remix by Granola Bitch vegan snack mix (best snack, ever!)
-My Eclectic Kitchen iPhone recipe App or eBook
-Nutiva hemp seeds
-Himalania Supersnacks goji berries
-Raw Revolution raw snack bars
-TerrAmazon cacao nibs and cacao powder
-Raw Cocoroons

Simple contest rules. In Instagram or Facebook:
1. Follow @granolabitch and @yvonne_delicously_vegan
2. Repost this photo and tag @granolabitch, @yvonne_deliciously_vegan, and #GinaYvonneGiveaway
3. Tag 3 friends in the post, below, or on our giveaway posts in Facebook or Instagram.
4. Tell us something you’re thankful for!

The giveaway contest is open worldwide and you can enter everyday! We will pick a winner via the hashtag by November 14th at 11pm | PST and announce it on Saturday the 15th!

GOOD LUCK & many thanks for participating!

(See original post on Instagram via @yvonne_deliciously_vegan or @granolabitch)

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Sunshine Cookies

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This recipe is dedicated to my incredibly talented and sweet nephew, Kian, who has a severe peanut allergy.  Since most of my cookie recipes contain some sort of nut, I feel bad that he can’t eat all of the treats my other 14 nephews and nieces get to enjoy.  So I made this special recipe just for him.  It is a nut-free version of a peanut butter cookie!  Instead of peanuts, I use sunflower butter.  He is not allergic to coconut sugar, but if someone in your household is allergic to coconut, please substitute with vegan sugar.  I also added mini-chocolate chips because everyone in my family loves chocolate chips!

Kian has yet to try these cookies since I don’t see him often, but my other nephews and nieces have tried and they think these cookies taste just like peanut butter cookies.

Interestingly, when sunflower butter and baking soda mix, it results in a green color.  Sometimes when I’m in a rush and over-measure the baking soda, the center of the cookies turn a green color.  Don’t be alarmed, though.  I have read that it is perfectly safe.   If you reduce the amount of the baking soda by just a tad, you might not get the green result.  My 4- and 5-year old nephews made a batch last night and they were so small, they didn’t turn green in the center.  At least we didn’t notice any green!


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I want to give Vitacost.com a huge thank you for kindly sending me ingredients that inspired these cookies!  Click on the ingredients links to purchase the same ingredients I used to make my Sunshine Cookies.  Click here for Vitacost.com savings.

Lastly, I want to thank Kimberley Flanary (@back_to_eden_healing on Instagram) for helping me name these special cookies!  I hope Kian, and whomever you know with nut allergies, will find a bit of sunshine in these cookies!

Enjoy!

 

Sunshine Cookies

Servings: 8

Time: 15 minutes

Diet: V, GF, SF, NF

 

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients:

3 Tbsp sorghum or oat flour

1/8 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp xanthan gum (optional. makes cookie less crumbly)

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup sunflower seed butter

2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

Other Ingredients:

3 Tbsp mini vegan chocolate chips

 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk together.

3. In a medium bowl, add the wet ingredients and mix.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine.

5. Mix in the mini chocolate chips.

6. Scoop 2-Tbsp cookie balls onto a half-sheet pan lined with a Silpat mat or parchment paper, and press down to flatten them ever so slightly with your hand.  You will make 8 cookies.

7.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on powerful your oven is.

8. Allow the cookies to rest on the pan for about 3 minutes before transferring them onto a cooling rack.

 

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Introducing The My Eclectic Kitchen YouTube Channel!

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Greetings, Friends!

I started something pretty exciting, a My Eclectic Kitchen YouTube channel!  This channel will be linked to my cookbook app and website!

I am very excited about the release of the ‘My Eclectic Kitchen’ app this month as well as my newly established YouTube channel!

Check out my first videos, below, and feel free to subscribe!

Note: If the picture quality is blurry for you, adjust the viewing settings. It can be watched in HD.

 

How to Make Banana Crunch Pops

 

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How To Line A Loaf Pan With Parchment Paper

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Spring and Easter Sweets and Treats!

Some of the things that I enjoy most about Spring are that we have more daylight, warmer weather, fruit trees and flowers in bloom, and Easter. In celebration of Easter or the magical wonders of the Spring season, I want to share a few of my favorite sweets and treats that have been proven to please everyone, vegans and non-vegans alike!

The first dessert is my husband’s favorite.  It is reminiscent of a New York-style cheesecake– my Vanilla Bean “Cheese”cake with Mixed Berry Compote.  It looks sinfully delicious and, yet, there is nothing really sinful about it.  Unlike the original, cholesterol-ridden version of this “cheese” cake, my version is vegan, gluten-free, and raw.  It does not contain any cholesterol and its powerful vitamins, minerals, and enzymes still remain intact.  Eating a slice of this is like eating a healthy handful of nuts and fruit.

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Another favorite of mine is my Nutty Creamy Chocolate Cake.  My non-vegan friends are awestruck when they take a bite into this silky smooth piece of deliciousness– they cannot believe there is not one drop of dairy in this luscious, creamy cake.  I have been told many times that this tastes like a decadent truffle cake.  At some point, I may even change the name to “Chocolate Truffle Cake” since it is so fitting.

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These Dreamy Creamy Vegan Berry and Vanilla “Cheese”cake Tartlets are the size of cupcakes, and they are even better than cupcakes.  The combination of the vanilla and the berry cream with the sweet date and nut crust in these tartlets is incredible.  I gave these as gifts to some friends who aren’t vegan, and they raved about how amazingly delicious they are.
photo-117As you can probably tell from my favorite sweets so far, raw vegan cashew “cheese”cakes, are high up on my list.  I have yet to meet one person who doesn’t appreciate the silky smooth, decadent, and delicious vegan “cheese”cake!  This next recipe is basically a raw vegan cashew-pistachio “cheese”cake with a whisper of rose and kiss of cardamom.  I made this beauty, filled with popular Middle Eastern flavors: rose, pistachio, and cardamom– for my in-laws who are Persian-American.  They not only were impressed by the aesthetics, but loved the flavors and textures.  I call this a Creamy Pistachio Rose Dreamcake.

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I’m a big lover of chocolate, so of course, I need to add a chocolate brownie to my list of favorites.  These are my favorite Black Bean Brownies.  If you make them for your loved ones, play the guessing game.  Have them try your vegan and gluten-free brownie first, then tell them to guess what the secret ingredient is!  Best served chilled as a stand-alone treat or served with a scoop of vanilla ice “cream” for brownie a la mode.
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My next favorite are Raw Goji-, Cranberry, and Coconut Truffles.  They are the quickest to make, and they go fast–either in your fridge at home (by you) or displayed in front of a crowd of guests.  These truffles are chewy with the perfect amount of sweetness from coconut, coconut nectar, cranberries and goji berries.  I am shocked that the pickiest of eaters will pick one of these up and go back for seconds and thirds.  These are great to give out as gifts, too, packaged in recycled jars, tied with pretty ribbon.

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Thin Mint Cookies are loved by all.  My friends and family, and my readers who have made them for their families have told me they are even better than the original Girl Scout version.  Within the snappy chocolate coating lays a crisp chocolate mint cookie.  They are minty fresh.  If you and your loved ones enjoy mint and chocolate, you will be in heaven with these cookies!

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My Yayfair Chocolate Candy are a delight, and are a lot of fun to make, too.  This is my vegan version of what used to be one of my favorite nuts and chews candies from See’s Candy Store– the Mayfair candy.  This recipe tastes like the real thing, only it’s not bad for you.  No cholesterol or refined sugar.  It’s simply chocolate candy with dried cherry, walnuts, hemp seeds and vegan date “caramel.”  It’s raw and such a wonderful, guilt-free treat!          IMG_6522

Last but not least, everyone’s favorite, the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie or Chocolate Chai Cookie.  These are easy to make and they are divine.  Amazingly, the texture of these cookies is soft, like a Keebler soft-batch cookie. The key ingredients are the garbanzo flour and coconut sugar– the combination of the two helps achieve its soft, chewy texture.  I love the flavor of the Chocolate Chai Cookie and must warn you that they are addicting.  Since they are so popular among my readers and within my circle of friends and family, I usually give these cookies as gifts.

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I hope this post has given you some good ideas for what to cook up this weekend!  If you haven’t tried any of these sweets and treats, a good time to try them is now!

I love seeing your My Eclectic Kitchen recreations!  Please continue to tag #myeclectickitchen and @yvonne_deliciously_vegan on Instagram, or tag ‘My Eclectic Kitchen’ on Facebook when you post photos of your re-creations!  Who knows, I may feature your post on Instagram and Facebook!

One last thing, if you are interesting in an Instagram shout-out, don’t forget to enter my Instagram Shout-out Contest!  Ends this Friday, April 18th.  Simply:

1) repost any of my photos

2) follow @yvonne_deliciously_vegan and tag #YvonnesShoutoutComp

I hope you are having a wonderful week so far!

In Love and Health,

Yvonne

 

 

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Chocolate Candy With Dried Cherry, Walnut, Hemp Seeds and Vegan Caramel

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In the United States, there is a popular candy store called See’s Candies, which can pretty much be found in any busy shopping mall.  Growing up, my parents would receive many boxes of See’s Candies Assorted Nuts and Chews chocolates for the holidays, hide them, and every so often take a box out for all their six children to enjoy.

Looking back, I can see how being the youngest in my family could have shaped my taste in chocolate candy, specifically See’s Candies chocolates. My sisters, older and bigger than me, would move swiftly toward the chocolate box and strategically choose candies of their choice leaving me with the undesirable ones.  This explains my exuberant passion for the candies that my sisters considered revolting.  For example, just this past holiday season, I noticed that my two favorite candies from See’s Candies happened to be the ones that were left in the box and untouched–Scotchmallows and Mayfair chocolates.  The Scotchmallows are “a layer of caramel with a layer of honey marshmallow covered in rich, dark chocolate.”   The Mayfair chocolates are “creamy soft center with walnuts, cherries and vanilla covered in smooth milk chocolate.”  I don’t quite understand why my sisters find those two flavors undesirable.   To me, they are awfully delicious and fun to eat!  In my pre-vegan days, I would stop in at See’s Candies just to buy one piece of either the Scotchmallow or Mayfair chocolate.  So good!

Most recently, I went to the mall and when I walked past See’s Candies I was reminded of my beloved Mayfair candy.  Since See’s Candies does not offer a vegan variety, I decided to create my own version.  I’m calling it Yayfair because my name starts with a ‘Y’ and I like the word “yay!”   This recipe tastes like the real thing, only it’s not bad for you.  No cholesterol or refined sugar.  It’s simply chocolate candy with dried cherry, walnuts, hemp seeds and vegan date “caramel.”  It’s raw and such a nice, guilt-free treat!

Here’s the recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

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Yayfair Chocolate Candy

Makes 9 – 10 candies

V, GF, GFV, ND, R

Ingredients

Filling:

4 large and soft medjool dates (if not soft, soak in filtered water overnight in the refrigerator and drain the water), pitted

1  1/2 tablespoon almond milk

1/2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla extract, no alcohol)

pinch fine sea salt

1/2 cup dried cherries

1 cup walnuts

2 Tbsp hemp seeds

 

Coating:

7 Tbsp cacao powder

3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

3 Tbsp cocoa butter, melted

1 Tbsp maple syrup

4 drops liquid Stevia and more, as needed

 

Decoration:

1/4 tsp hemp seeds

 

Directions

1. Place the dates, almond milk, sea salt, and almond extract (or vanilla extract) in the food processor. Process until smoothish, somewhat like caramel. Taste the mixture. Adjust the almond (or vanilla flavor), if you wish.

2. To the food processor, add the walnuts, dried cherries and hemp seeds and pulse a few times. You will still want texture from the nuts and cherries, so be careful not to over-process.

3. a) Scoop mixture into a silicone ice cube tray, adding just enough of the mixture to each mold to make a cube with equal sides. Flatten and level the top with your fingers.

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b) Alternatively, if you don’t have a silicone ice cube tray, line a loaf (bread) pan with parchment, using cooking spray to keep the parchment in place. Add the mixture to half of the pan and flatten, smooth out the top.

4. Place the candies in the freezer until frozen, about 3-4 hours or overnight.

If you are placing the candies in a loaf pan, remove from the freezer after 30 minutes and cut into 9 – 1  1/2 inch cubes, or however many cubes you wish.   Place back in the freezer to freeze completely.

5. When the candies are almost frozen, make the chocolate coating. In a small bowl, mix together all of the coating ingredients and adjust sweetness by either adding more stevia or maple syrup.

6. Prepare for coating the candies with chocolate:

a) Line a small sheet tray (1/4 sheet tray) with parchment paper.

b) Take out a fork and a large spoon to assist you with coating the candies with chocolate.

c) Remove the candies from the freezer and quickly punch out the candies from the silicone ice cube mold.  Alternatively, remove the cubes from the bread pan and parchment.

Note: When you start coating the candies, you will need to move quickly since the frozen candy will freeze the chocolate almost immediately.

7. If you’re right-handed, hold the fork in your left hand (opposite if you’re a lefty). Place the candy on the fork. Hold the spoon with your left hand. Quickly dunk the bottom of the candy in the chocolate. Wipe the bottom with the back of the spoon and very quickly, spoon chocolate all over to coat the candy. Remember, to work quickly or you will see layers of chocolate coating. Quickly, place the candy on the lined sheet pan and sprinkle hemp seeds lightly on top of the candy before the chocolate sets. Repeat until you are done coating the candies with chocolate. If the coating chocolate in the bowl starts to set, gently heat it so it’s easier to work with. If you run out of chocolate, make a little more.

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8. Store in refrigerator to set and until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

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Creamy Pistachio Rose Dreamcake

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I would have to say that one of my favorite vegan desserts are the raw vegan cashew “cheese”cakes.  They are silky smooth, decadent, and oh-so delicious!  This next recipe is basically a raw vegan cashew-pistachio “cheese”cake with a whisper of rose and kiss of cardamom.  Since these cakes are quite rich, I make them in a 6″ cake pan and then cut them into eighths.  Each eighth slice is a perfect portion (for me, at least)– not too much or too little, just right!  The raw cake is packed with live enzymes, which nutritionist Kimberly Snyder states, “are proteins that catalyze hundreds of different processes in the body.  This includes breaking down fats, enhancing mental capacity, purifying the blood, and renewing aging skin.”

Since the flavors of pistachio, rose, and cardamom are common in Persian desserts, it was fitting that I took this treat over to my Persian/Iranian-American in-laws for one of our weekly family dinners.  And, let me tell  you, it was a hit.  They absolutely loved it!

I hope you enjoy it as much they do.  It is divine!

 

Creamy Pistachio Rose Dreamcake

Serves 8

Prep Time: 1 day

DF, V, GF, GFV, SF, R

Ingredients

Crust:

1 cup pistachios

2 1/2 tbsp coconut nectar

1/2 tsp cardamom, ground

pinch of salt

Filling:

1 cup cashews, soaked in filtered water in the refrigerator overnight

1/2 cup pistachios, soaked in filtered water in the refrigerator overnight

1/3 cup coconut nectar

stevia drops, optional

1 tbsp rose water

1/3 cup filtered water

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions

1. If you don’t have a 6″ spring-form pan, line a 6 inch round cake pan with plastic wrap, using 2 pieces.

2. Place all of the crust’s ingredients into the processor and pulse to chop until you reach your desired fineness.  You want a finer crust than a chunky one.  Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. If you don’t feel it’s holding together, try to mix the mixture with your hands until it comes together.  Scoop out the crust mixture into the 6″ pan and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.

3. If coconut oil is solid, place the oil in a small saucepan on low heat until it comes to a liquid state.

4. In your most powerful blender, place all of filling ingredients and blend on high until very smooth.  This make take a couple minutes. Taste the filling and sweeten to taste. Add either a little more coconut nectar or stevia.

5. Pour the mixture out onto the crust and smooth it evenly with an offset spatula or silicone spatula.  Place in freezer until solid for at least 3-4 hours.

6. To serve, remove from the freezer, removing any plastic, 30 minutes prior to eating and top with raspberries.  Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices.

If you happen to have leftovers, store in the freezer.  Also, for a lighter colored cake, use blonde coconut nectar.

Enjoy!

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Persimmon Cookies and Muffins!

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Have you ever used one batter to make cookies and muffins?  Before today, I didn’t think that was possible.  Well, guess what I did?  I made persimmon cookies and persimmon muffins using the same exact batter!  Sounds too good to be true?  I’m telling you…it can be done!  And, with this recipe both pastries turned out great!

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If you have a persimmon tree, just inherited a huge bounty of persimmons like I did, or can find them at the market, I recommend making these cookies and/or muffins.  Your family, friends, and coworkers will love you for it.

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Last weekend at my twin nephews’ birthday party, I shared these cookies with guests while discreetly conducting a taste test.  The common reaction was, “this doesn’t taste like a vegan and gluten-free cookie.  It’s delicious!  Can I have another one?”  It is these types of responses that warm my heart and make me happy doing what I do.

These are some of the best vegan and gluten-free cookies and muffins that I have had in a while. They’re not the crispy type of cookies or muffins.  Rather, they are actually quite moist from the addition of the applesauce and persimmon.

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If you love the taste and smell of the holidays, you sure will be pleased with these.  While baking, your house will be filled with the most intoxicating holiday spice aroma.  You can taste all of the warm and familiar flavors of the season and the sweetness of the raisins, while getting a nice crunch from the walnuts.

I hope you and your loved ones enjoy them as much as my loved ones and I do!

Persimmon Cookies and/or  Muffins

Makes 27-28 cookies or about 12 muffins

Ingredients

2 cups oat flour (gluten-free) or 2 heaping cups of rolled oats (gluten-free)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup coconut sugar

1 tbsp chia seeds

3 tbsp applesauce, unsweetened

1 cup persimmon pulp (from ripe, soft persimmons)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract(no alcohol)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 cup raisins

1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. If you don’t have oat flour and only rolled oats, place a heaping cup of rolled oats into a high-powered blender.  Blend on high until you have a flour-like consistency.  Remeasure the flour to ensure you have 2 cups exactly. Place in a large bowl. Add the baking powder and baking soda to the oat flour, mix well.  Set aside.

3. You will need to use the same blender (don’t need to wash it), just remove any remaining oat flour and save to use later.  Place the coconut oil, coconut sugar, chia seeds, applesauce, persimmon pulp, vanilla, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into the blender and blend until fully incorporated and chia seeds are pulverized. Stop the blender maybe 2 times to scrape the sides of the blender, ensuring all ingredients are getting blended together.

4. Using a rubber spatula, add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix well.  Fold in the raisins and walnuts.

5. On a half sheet pan lined with parchment or a silicon liner, scoop 1 ounce (or 2 tbsp)-sized cookies.  Press down on the cookies with your hand to flatten into a cookie shape, or use the side of a rubber spatula to flatten since they are a bit sticky.

**alternatively, add 2 scoops (or 4 tbsp) of batter to cupcake cake liners. Make sure to press down and flatten the muffin.

Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes.  Bake muffins for 25-28 minutes.  Repeat until all cookies and muffins are baked.  Cool cookies and muffins on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

 

 

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