Vegan Valentine’s Dinner Pop Up

Vday Vegan Dinner-9Vday Vegan Dinner-10

Going out and doing things on the weekend is a rare occurrence for me, now that I’m consumed with grad school life. However, last weekend, I made sure to make time to attend another event hosted by my dear friends, The Harvest Hands, in collaboration with Living Life Fresh and Compassionate Collective Co. It was such a delight to spend the evening with some of my favorite people, and I met some new people too, including Madeline Alcott (Petit Vour)!

My friend Veronica Rouly (Cherries Roses Chains) and I went together as galentines! Veronica is a passionate YouTuber and fellow vegan foodie. So as you can imagine,  we had a great time obsessing over all the food and discussing future plans for online content collaboration! Continue reading

Rustic Savory Mushroom & Green Bean Crostata

The holidays are here and that means it’s pie season. I much prefer galettes and crostatas, though, and they are so much easier than pie!

A crostata (or a galette) is a free-formed pastry, which is why I love it so much. Usually it’s a dessert Savory Rustic Veggie Crostatadish, filled with seasonal fruits, like this apple galette I made, but it can also have a savory filling! Like potatoes, or tomatoes, for example. 🙂 I’ve been wanting to attempt a savory crostata for a while, and I finally got to make one and record the measurements this week!

Inspired by comfort food and pretty pastries, this is like a dressed up version of a green bean casserole. I actually like it better, because the herbed crust is so delicious! This is great for Thanksgiving, or for dinner on a relaxing Sunday evening.

Please note: the measurements below are for two crostatas (I couldn’t just make one!), but feel free to half them if you don’t want to make that much!

Rustic Savory Mushroom & Green Bean Crostata

Rustic Savory Mushroom & Green Bean Crostata
(makes 2 crostatas, 5-8 servings)
Total time: 2 hours

Herbed Crust 

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry purpose flour, chilled
  • 1 tiny pinch sea salt
  • 2 t organic sugar
  • 1 cup chilled non-dairy butter (I used Earth Balance this time–I want to experiment with a coconut oil crust in the future! Do any of you use Nutiva products for baking?)
  • 6 T fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used 2 T each of thyme, parsley and sage)
  • 4-5 T ice water
Method:
  1. Pulse the flour, sea salt, and organic sugar in a food processor until well incorporated.
  2. Cut the non-dairy butter into the flour mixture, using a fork. Don’t worry about making the butter pieces small—sugar cube sized chunks are fine.
  3. Process in the food processor until you get a coarse, crumbly mixture. Clumps are fine here. Halfway through, add the herbs.
  4. Add the ice water to the mixture, one tablespoon at a time. Pulse after each tablespoon & assess if you need to add more water each time you do–you want the dough to just come together.
  5. Divide your dough in half and carefully dump each half on two separate pieces of saran wrap. For each round of dough, take the plastic and wrap it around the dough, shaping it into a flat disc as you go. Watching Martha Stewart do it is helpful! 🙂
  6. Chill your dough in the fridge for at least an hour (or overnight). While your dough is chilling, you can prepare the filling!
Green Bean & Mushroom Filling

I used Fork and Beans’ Green Bean Casserole recipe, with several of my own adjustments (noted below).

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz fresh green beans, chopped and boiled until just tender—put them in ice after straining so that they stay fresh. Once they are cold, take them out of the ice and let them dry on a paper towel.
  • grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 2 T garbanzo flour (or regular all purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth–all I had on hand was phở broth, so I just went with it, but it actually turned out amazing! It made everything very aromatic! 🙂
  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • a generous dash of garlic powder
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
After finishing step 3 on Cara’s recipe, I transferred the creamy mushroom sauce to a large mixing bowl and added the green beans to it. 

Assembling the crostataRustic Savory Mushroom & Green Bean Crostata

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Take the chilled dough rounds out of the fridge.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough rounds into rough circles.
  4. Transfer the dough rounds to two glass pie pans (mine were 8 inches in diameter), or a baking sheet.
  5. Spoon the green bean and mushroom filling onto the dough, leaving about 1 1/2 inches at the edges. Fold all edges of the dough towards the center. Food52 has some good tips for this.
  6. Brush the crust with some almond milk or melted nondairy butter.
  7. Sprinkle the whole thing with breadcrumbs or almond parmesan, to your taste. Last night, I made some herbed breadcrumbs with my favorite Ezekiel bread, so I used those! Check out my Facebook for the herbed breadcrumbs recipe.
  8. Lower the oven’s heat to 350 degrees F and bake the crostata for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden. I let mine bake a little longer because I wanted it to be extra toasty!

Enjoy, and I hope everyone has a beautiful time with their family this weekend! Thank you for reading!

Refreshing Ginger Tisane (Tea)

Hello there! I am sincerely sorry for the lack of posts on this blog! I have missed blogging so much.

What’s new? I am happy to say that I have a job working as a relationship specialist for Hampton Creek Foods!

Hampton Creek is all about connecting people with healthier choices that are far kinder to the planet and the animals. This is something I care about deeply! It’s part of who I am. I have decided I am putting grad school on hold, because I love being on Hampton Creek’s team so much. 🙂 If you haven’t tried their AMAZING cholesterol-free mayo yet, here’s how you can find it! We beat Hellmann’s in a blind taste test–just try it! 😉

Just MayoSustainable + Affordable + Delicious. Just the best!

This company is changing the world. I see the changes every day while on the job, and I’m incredibly grateful that I can be a part of it. Working for Hampton Creek is an opportunity for me to use my passion for something bigger than myself. My heart sings when I work for them. That’s beautiful to me. I truly love going to work!

For personal reasons, I haven’t been feeling like myself for a few months. When I wasn’t working, I was feeling uncharacteristically uninspired and unmotivated in pursing my hobbies, like my beloved blog. I had been struggling to find smiling myself again, but I’ve been doing so much better and taking care of myself. When I focus on helping others, I feel like I am doing something right.

Feeling down is normal, and in life there is no pause button. But sometimes you need a little break for yourself. And sometimes you may need a little pick-me-up. Refresh yourself!

Refreshing Ginger Tea | The Broccoli Bulletin

I hope you are all doing well. Whether you’re feeling down or need something to refresh yourself after a long day, this ginger tea will serve as a burst of bright, sweet and spicy sunshine that will warm and soothe your insides.

 Refreshing Ginger Tisane (Tea)
(makes one steamy cup of comfort)

Total time: 10 minutes or lessRefreshing Ginger Tea | The Broccoli Bulletin
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of freshly grated ginger (try to get organic if you can)
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (or to your taste)
  • a dash of fresh lemon juice (to your taste)

Method:

  1. Pour about 1 cup of boiling water into a glass mug, or if you’re like my mom, use a small rice bowl. ^.^
  2. Add the grated ginger to the hot water and let it steep for 2-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the maple syrup and squeeze some lemon juice into the tea.
  4. Enjoy while it’s still warm.

The ginger in this tea makes it a natural remedy for indigestion.
Both invigorating and comforting, it can also help clear your head when you have a headache.

Hope you enjoy, and please let me know how it goes if you try it!
I will post some recipes soon in a week or so, but now I’m off to a work trip in Colorado! So exciting! I’ll try to post all my adventures on Instagram.

En route to Colorado!My first flight by myself! ^.^

Warm wishes–I hope you are taking care of yourself in the best way possible. Do some meditation, go for a run, or make yourself a cup of tea. You deserve it!

Lavender Hot Chocolate + Coconut Whip

Lavender Hot Chocolate 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.
Decadent Coconut Whipped Cream

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.

Delicious Lavender Hot ChocolateThis 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
Ingredients:

  • 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.)

Method:

  1. In a saucepan, heat the nondairy milk and lavender buds over medium heat. Whisk occasionally and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let the lavender steep for about 5 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. Pour into mugs and serve with dollops of coconut whipped cream. Mix it up to incorporate the creaminess throughout the whole drink.

Gorgeous Lavender Hot Chocolate

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!

Related articles:

Easy Overnight Hot Chocolate Oats

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

Overnight Hot Chocolate Oats
(serves 1)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Wait time: 3 hours +

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. 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!).
  2. 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!

‘Speciesism: The Movie’ | Review + More

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

Speciesism: The Movie

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.

Speciesism: The Movie

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):

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. 🙂

Ego vs. Eco

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!):

Did you see Speciesism: The Movie? What did you think of it? Please share your comments below!

Merry Christmas!

Vegan Hot ChocolateHi everyone,
I would just like to make a post dedicated to sincerely wishing my readership a very merry Christmas (or happy holidays, if you prefer)! Thank you all for following my blog–I appreciate your readership more than I can express in words!

In honor of today, I am sharing the following Christmas/winter playlist and some handpicked related articles below from my favorite places on the internet (I’ve also included some of my recipes for your reference).

If you have a quiet moment this holiday, feel free to check them out if you’re interested in reading about what’s usually on my mind during the Christmas season (and all year, really–yummy food and world peace are always relevant in my book).

I hope your holidays are filled with love and light, and I wish you and your families all the best for the upcoming new year.

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Chili Mac’n’Cheese

If you’re new to vegan comfort food, you probably have a burning question about the title of this blog post: How can mac’n’cheese be vegan?! What is this blasphemy? I refuse to acknowledge the possibility. (Can you tell I’ve gotten reactions like this before? hehe)

Calm down, take a breath and stay with me, my friend.  The possibilities are endless and wonderful. This Pinterest board lists tons of ways to make vegan mac’n’cheese, including pumpkin, cashews, tofu and even cauliflower. It’s an adventure!

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