Monday blues? Chase them away with some nice cream!
The warm spring weather has prompted my sister and me to put many spring rolls and lettuce wraps on the menu lately. My cousin Jackie introduced us to kimchi tofu wraps last month and we’ve been hooked. Savory dry-fried tofu and fiery kimchi provide the main flavors in these wraps, while add-ins like basil, sprouts and cucumbers add green freshness.
I am a fan of all things lavender, especially lavender lemonade. I’ve been dying to try lavender hot chocolate. I saw a recipe for it on à la mode’s blog a while back, and it was simply gorgeous. Truly inspiring. I had to veganize it. While my photos may not be as amazing as his, I think the hot chocolate tasted divine, especially with this genius coconut whipped cream from Oh She Glows.
My friend just pointed out to me that this looks like the moon and stars! Not my intention, but I like it!
This drink is cozy and elegant—my kind of Valentine’s Day treat! I live for the joys of relaxation and authentic simplicity, no superfluous roses or overpriced dinners here, thank you.
My friend told me a rose hot chocolate might be more suited to tomorrow’s holiday, but I’m just so obsessed with lavender. It’s done.
This recipe makes enough to serve two, so you can share it with your sweetheart for a charming end to your evening. If you’re single and have a 20 oz mug, then it serves one. More hot chocolate for me! ^.^
Food-saving note: You really only need a couple dollops of coconut whipped cream, so you’ll have coconut milk leftover–I’m going to use my leftover coconut milk to make this easy caramel sauce from Oh, Ladycakes!
Vegan Lavender Hot Chocolate
inspired by à la mode
(makes 2 normal servings, or 1 generous serving)
Total time: 15 minutes
- 2 cups nondairy milk (I used almond milk)
- 1/2 t dried lavender buds (available at Whole Foods or any natural grocery store)
- 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped uniformly (use at least 70% cacao—I used Theo’s brand, available at Kroger or Whole Foods)
- 1/6 cup pure maple syrup (or to your taste)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 pinch sea salt
- coconut whipped cream, for serving (optional, but it gives the BEST creamy texture–be sure to chill several hours beforehand. You can get the canned coconut milk from Kroger or the Asian market.)
- In a saucepan, heat the nondairy milk and lavender buds over medium heat. Whisk occasionally and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Remove from heat and let the lavender steep for about 5 minutes.
- Strain the lavender and return the milk to the saucepan, on low to medium heat. Add the chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. Whisk until the chocolate is melted, and everything is incorporated and frothy. Remove from heat.
- Pour into mugs and serve with dollops of coconut whipped cream. Mix it up to incorporate the creaminess throughout the whole drink.
Mmm…it looks like a galaxy and tastes like a combination of two of my favorite things—Earl Grey lattes and chocolate. It’s perfect!
Next time, I’m going to try making this with Dream Nondairy’s creamy sweet chocolate bar. I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day, whether you are celebrating with someone special or your awesome self!
What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Have any other lavender-related ideas? If you try the recipe, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
- My Decadent Hot Chocolate Recipe
- My Vegan Valentine’s Day Tips
- 5 Minute Vegan Hot Cocoa (minimalistbaker.com)
- 25 Valentine’s Day Breakfast and Dessert Recipes (veganricha.com)
- 25 Romantic Breakfast in Bed Ideas for Valentine’s Day (onegreenplanet.org)
- 8 Delicious Vegan Aphrodisiacs (vegnews.com)
Waking up early to make a healthy breakfast is such a chore. Thankfully, Pinterest has led me to the discovery of an easy breakfast solution for people on the go: overnight oats!
This breakfast be prepared in just a few minutes the night before, with no cooking required. It’s perfect for students and busy folks. Overnight oats are usually eaten cold, but these days, I like a warm breakfast, so I will be heating mine up in the morning.
This is like hot chocolate in oatmeal form–something I know I can wake up to!
Overnight Hot Chocolate Oats
Prep time: 5 minutes
Wait time: 3 hours +
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used almond milk!)
- up to 1.5 T cocoa powder (you can adjust according to your preference)
- 1 T chia seeds (optional)
- 2 t maple syrup (or to your taste; you can taste and add more in the morning if you want)
- a few semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
- a dash of cinnamon
- Mix everything together in a bowl or a mug, cover and let it sit in the fridge overnight while you sleep, or at least three hours (lookin’ at you, night owls!).
- In the morning, stumble to the fridge, take out your oats, and warm them up before devouring. I added some pecans to mine and it was awesome.
I like my oatmeal a little thick, but if you find it’s too thick, feel free to add another splash or two of almond milk. This recipe is super adaptable, so if something is not to your taste, just adjust!
If chocolate isn’t your first choice for breakfast, then
A. I doubt your sanity, and
B. Check out these recipes on Buzzfeed for more flavor variations!
What are your favorite easy breakfast solutions? Please share with me in the comments below!
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Last week, on January 23rd, ‘Speciesism: The Movie’ made its Texas premiere at The Magnolia theater in Dallas. The documentary was written, directed and produced by Mark Devries, who was present at the screening.
Walking into the film, I expected an exposé about the way humans treat nonhuman animals, along with a philosophical discussion. I wasn’t wrong, but I also wasn’t expecting much humor. While I had heard that the movie had some humorous moments, I was surprised to find myself (and other attendees) truly laughing out loud several times. Devries himself narrates the documentary, managing to articulate and raise important questions about complex and heavy issues without boring the audience. He made us laugh, without belittling the issues. For those wondering, animal abuse footage was kept to a minimum.
Devries, who was not vegan when he made the documentary, begins by asking questions. These questions beget more questions, fueling a journey of discovery that includes investigations, expert insights, and conversations with everyday citizens. The film ends up challenging an extremely under-recognized form of oppression ingrained in our society (and the implications, as such)–that is, the conventional, anthropocentric notion that animals hold no value beyond human use.
I appreciated Devries’ rational approach and inquisitive nature, which encouraged viewers to think for themselves. Also, I really would have liked to see more appearances from women and vegans of color and their perspectives on speciesism and other forms of oppression. However, as a conversation starter, ‘Speciesism: The Movie’ definitely has my recommendation. I would love to see a sequel exploring the intersectionality of the issues more in depth.
A philosophical discourse in itself, this is an approachable and stimulating film that serves as a compelling start to a worthwhile conversation we ought to be having about how we treat nonhuman animals, and what that says about us. I gave the movie a standing ovation, as did the other attendees who filled up the whole theater. Regardless of whether or not you are vegan, this is a must-see for anyone interested in animals, philosophy, the environment, human health, systems of oppression, posthumanist theory, or bio-politics.
For those who have seen the film…
If you’re interested in the film’s topics, the movie’s site has some post-viewing recommendations. Also, here are some of my personal recommendations about related topics (for watching and reading):
- to watch // Thoughts From an Asian American Vegan / Forks Over Knives / Earthlings (graphic) / Sharkwater / Blackfish / Racist + Speciesist Vegans?!
- to read // The Animals Reader / The World Peace Diet / Eating Animals / The Sexual Politics of Meat / Veganism and Mi’kmaq Legends: Feminist Natives Do Eat Tofu / Vegans Against PETA blog (I love this blog 110%)
- on my to-do list // Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak / The Milk Documentary / Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory / Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self
Please let me know your thoughts if you have read or watched any of the above, and if you have recommendations.
Also, please see the related articles below for more material relevant to these issues! There’s so much to discuss and read about, so I simply had to include more related articles. 🙂
PSA (for UT Arlington students):
The film’s philosophical points were reminiscent of class discussions from the animal studies literature course I took in 2012, with Dr. Stacy Alaimo at UTA (possibly my favorite literature course ever–take it if you can). Through examining and discussing the works of philosophers and thinkers like Nussbaum, Bentham, Montaigne, and Derrida, the class held regular discourses about the representation of animals in human culture and the ethical implications of our widespread mistreatment of other species. ‘Speciesism: The Movie’ would have fit the curriculum very well. Those of you who have taken Dr. Alaimo’s class, I highly recommend this documentary.
Related articles (check these out!):
- ‘Never Be Silent’ and the Packaging of Neoliberal Whiteness: On Trayvon Martin, PETA, and Being a Black Critical Race Researcher in White Spaces (sistahvegan.com)
- The Biotic Woman: Vegans of Color (bitchmagazine.com)
- Vegan Women of Color Break New Ground (vegnews.com)
- Redefined Palate: Sistah Vegan Project’s Breeze Harper Dishes on Mindful Eating (civileats.com)
Did you see Speciesism: The Movie? What did you think of it? Please share your comments below!
Last December, I adopted College Park’s Smiling Moose Deli as my study abode for an afternoon. At first, I came to grab food, but when I realized that they had free wifi and outlets available, I set up my materials and wrote my final paper there. The place offered a nice, warm atmosphere for studying and several vegan options to choose from. I ended up ordering a few dishes to keep myself satiated while working.
This place is very clear about labels and friendly about answering questions. Any of the vegetarian dishes can be ordered vegan if you ask them to hold the dairy products. Here’s my full review, originally published on The Shorthorn, UT Arlington’s student news website, published on October 2, 2013.
Before closing, they offered me free coffee (plus soymilk!) since it was the end of the day. Sweet. I had other study plans that night, so the caffeine came in handy.
Pictured above: Build-Your-Own salad, the Veggie Mo, and Vegan Vegetable Soup. The soup was hearty, and the sandwich was filling, but it was not my favorite. I loved the salad I had a few weeks ago–I tend not to order salads, but I was really craving fresh veggies and this hit the spot. I loaded it with all the toppings I could think of (they do not charge extra for extra toppings). College Park has several other vegan options too–check out my reviews here.
Good luck with finals! Load up on healthy snacks! 😉
- The Broccoli Bulletin: Study smart with these nine healthy snacks (theshorthorn.com)
- Tofu-riffic #veganrecipehour (veganrecipehour.wordpress.com)
- Eating Vegan on the Road (eatdrinkbetter.com)
- 10 Creamy Vegan Recipes for the Die-Hard Dairy Fan (onegreenplanet.org)
- Vegetarian And Vegan Dining In Costa Rica (costaricatravelblog.com)
- Don’t fear the vegan! (eatocracy.cnn.com)
Did you know that hot chocolate and hot cocoa are two different things? Check out my hot chocolate recipe post on The Shorthorn’s site to listen to learn more about the art of hot chocolate. The photos and following post were originally published on The Shorthorn, UT Arlington’s student news website, on November 20, 2013.
I came up with the idea of writing about hot chocolate last week, when it was freezing outside. Although this week’s forecast looks pretty warm, I’m going to post this in anticipation for future cold weather.
This is probably my favorite post I’ve ever done for work. Everything was too much fun! If you try the recipe, let me know how it goes!
Last week, my friend tipped me off about these vegan brownies on campus, so I decided to have lunch at UTA’s Connection Cafe.
I was excited to find Thai coconut curry noodles in the international line, with a clear “vegan” label. Also, I have since learned that any desserts placed at the vegetarian line will be vegan from now on. Yay!
While there is always room for improvement, I have been previously impressed with the increased availability of vegan options at UTA, thanks to the Vegan Club‘s work with Student Congress and the cooking staff’s cooperation and hospitality. A vegan line has been in place for about a year, but this semester it changed to a vegetarian line. Some vegetarian dishes are veganizeable if students ask for no cheese. Vegan desserts, plus a completely vegan entree in a non-vegan line, were not going to on my list of expectations for a while, but I was pleasantly surprised during this visit.
It’s exciting to have an increase in vegan options all around, even if it doesn’t seem like a lot, it means a great deal to students who rely on the meal plans.
While UTA is surely improving, UNT’s vegan dining hall is a truly dream come true–UTA’s Vegan Club and I paid them a visit recently, to meet up with UNT’s vegan group. It was a worthwhile trek for good company and good food. We were met with more than enough vegan options to choose from, including fresh focaccia bread sandwiches, tostadas, soft serve ice cream and adorable tapioca pudding shots.
It was heavenly, and my first time having tapioca pudding! Special thanks to Ken Botts, the special projects manager for UNT’s Dining Services, for welcoming us so warmly, and for giving us advice on how to improve vegan options at UTA!
For those who may not know, the vegan cafeteria at UNT inspired UTA students to push for more vegan options on our own campus. We probably won’t have an all vegan cafeteria at UTA, but we appreciate the progress and we are grateful for the cooking staff’s efforts here.
What vegan things have you tried at UTA’s Connection Cafe? Have you been to UNT’s vegan cafeteria? If so, what elements would you like UTA to incorporate from UNT’s practices? Please share your experiences with me below, and feel free to contact UTA’s Dining Services to let them know what you think.
- Students need more vegetarian/vegan food options at UT-Arlington (theshorthorn.com)
- Student Congress sees firsthand the need for more vegan transparency (theshorthorn.com)
- UTA Student Congress votes unanimously in favor of ‘vegan’ resolution (theshorthorn.com)
- Vegan Dining Resolution at UTA: hurdles and results (plantcrush.co)
- UT Arlington’s Connection Cafe makes strides with vegan line (plantcrush.co)