Happy New Years!

Happy New Years Eve everyone! I’m in Maine with my family for the holiday — skiing is big hobby in my family. Although I might prefer to be home doing other festivities (you know what I mean) with my friends, it’s nice to be here, being active and relaxing. I still have three more weeks for festivities before I return to Hopkins.

As a send off post for the New Year I’m including a recipe for vegan Carrot Cake pancakes, adapted from the Happy Herbivore. It’s a ridiculously easy recipe and almost as good as normal pancakes. I’ll be honest and say it’s not quite as good but I think that has more to do with Happy Herbivore’s low-fat approach. Many other websites have vegan pancakes full of margarine and fat and deliciousness but seeing as one of my New Year’s resolutions is to lose five pounds (along with make Dean’s List, get a boyfriend, the usual) I decided fat-free pancakes were the way to go. Seriously though. Fat free pancakes? Hell yeah.

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Vegan Carrot Cake Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 cup plant-based milk

½ cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

6-7 carrots shredded (more carrots if you like them)

1 tsp nutmeg


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Instructions:

1. Spray pan with cooking oil and preheat on medium.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and gently stir until evenly mixed, adding another 1/4 cup non-dairy milk if necessary.

3. Let rest 10 minutes if you can.

4. Ladle batter onto the skillet. When bottoms of the pancakes are golden and bubbles begin to appear on the tops, flip over.

5. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

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I really like mine over done so I let it cook for a little longer and preheat my pan to medium high. And I added a lot of nutmeg. I seriously love nutmeg.

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Well I hope everyone is ready to say goodbye to 2o12 and is ready for a freakin’ awesome 2013. I have a good feeling about this year. What are everyone else’s resolutions? I have about 20 of them so maybe that’s a sign I need to re evaluate my life…

Anyways, have a glass (or five) of champagne for me!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Good Eats

Sorry that it has been a while, but I’m sure Christmas and travelling are adequate excuses for being a little lax. However, as a result from Christmas, new surprises for the blog! My parents are amazing and got me a real camera! No more iPhone pictures that have to be overedited and unfocused. I apologize in advance for the increase in pictures for the next few posts, I can’t help myself. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

Another gift came from my brother, who got me Veganomicon! It’s basically the ultimate gourmet vegan cookbook that makes elevated vegan cooking easy. Get ready for some recipes to pop up from there…

And finally, my last vegan related gift is another package of Allison’s Gourmet. It included salted chocolate peanut brittle, a foursome of truffles and peppermint chocolate bark. This is where today’s recipe comes in. I had been hoping to make some Christmas cookies to bring up to the family farm where we went for the holiday. Unfortunately, the time between me coming home from school and leaving for the farm left little time to do anything except throw my dirty laundry out of my bag and throw clean clothes in for the trip. But as soon as I got home today I knew what I wanted to do. Make chocolate chip cookies, but with the peppermint bark. So I turned to one of my most trusted blogs, Dreena Burton’s Plant Powered Kitchen, that I follow to make cookies and away I went.

DSCN0010Ingredients (adapted from Plant Powered Kitchen’s Recipe):

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

1⁄2 tsp baking soda

1⁄8 Splenda

1⁄4 tsp sea salt

1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup

1 – 1 1⁄2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1⁄4 cup organic neutral flavored oil

1⁄2 Cup Crushed Peppermint Bark

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).

2. In a bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

3. Add the sugar and salt, and stir until well combined.

4. Add in the maple syrup, vanilla, oil and crushed bark.

5. Stir through until just well combined (do not overmix).

6. Place large spoonfuls of the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten a little.

7. Bake for 11 minutes, until just golden.

8. Let cool on the sheet for no more than 1 minute (again, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack.

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Makes 8-10 large cookies. And I promptly ate 3 of them. And my mother ate 3. These were amazing, the mint really made them fabulous. They were a little drier than I would have liked so I plan to play around with applesauce added to the batter. If you have any other suggestions for making them more moist let me know!

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What are some of your favorite cookie recipes? I’d love to veganize them. And I’d love some feedback on the pictures! Another huge thanks to my parents for getting me the camera and to my friend Jeff for helping them pick it out and for giving me some photo taking tips.

Don’t think I was the only one to receive a vegan themed present. I got my dad the Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook 😀 get ready for some recipes from that as well.

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I hope everyone had an amazing holiday, I know I did. I’m so grateful for everything I have received this year and for the family that has supported me every step of the way.

Happy eating!

 

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Almost Home!

The final countdown has begun, with only one full day left before I finally return to New England! You would think this means I have been non stop studying for my finals but of course it means I’m procrastinating by baking. Nothing better than taking a study break to make a microwave corn muffin or a mini pear crisp or a whole pumpkin loaf. However, with only my hardest class left to study for I’m sad to say this will most likely be my last until next week. But I managed to stuff a Use It Up Tuesday and two recipes into this post, hopefully that will keep you happy and full until next time.

First for Use it Up Tuesday I decided to make a miniature pear crisp. My parents had sent me Harry and David care package (thanks again Mom and Dad!) and all that was remaining was a single sad pear. What better way to use an over ripe fruit than in dessert. And now that I’ve finally admitted that oats may be my favorite food of the moment, a crisp was the obvious choice. With a little maple syrup the whole thing came together perfectly. And of course I just had to use up some of my left over dark chocolate too so that got loaded up on top. The end result? A perfect individual pear crisp I was able to bake in my toaster oven.

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Ingredients:

1 very ripe pear

1/2 cup oats (I used just regular Quaker Oats)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips (optional) (make sure they’re vegan!)

Directions:

1. Cut up pear into small slices.

2. Place slices in toaster oven safe bowl, plate, etc.

3. Mix oats and maple syrup then press onto pear until it has filled in all the spaces and has a small layer on top.

4. Bake in toaster oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the oats are toasted and light brown.

Gooey, warm pear and oats

Gooey, warm pear and oats

Use It Up Tuesday turned into Use it Up Wednesday when I decided to use one of my lingering cans of pumpkin. To celebrate the end of finals for my hard working room mate I made pumpkin bread laced with even more left over dark chocolate. I tweaked a recipe a little to make do with the ingredients I had so the texture wasn’t perfect although it tasted great. And by not having any oil it made it a little healthier!

Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 can pumpkin

3/4 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 cup water

1 chia egg (1 Tablespoon ground chia + 3 Tablespoons water)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare 1 regular sized loaf pan (8.5 X 2.5 X 2) by spraying it with cooking spray.

2. Whisk together ground chia seed with water in a small bowl with a fork and let it sit for a few minutes until an gel like consistency forms.

3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt). Combine the wet ingredients (pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, water, and chia egg) in a medium-sized mixing bowl and blend well. Add the liquid mixture to the dry and stir well.

4. Pour batter into the loaf pan and place on the center rack of oven. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Notes: I used chia seed but you could use any egg replacer. Also I used an entire can of pumpkin even though the original recipe asked for a cup. Although it was a bit mushy it was still delicious. It’s up to you how pumpkiny you want it.

All wrapped up for my room mate

All wrapped up for my room mate

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I hope you all have survived finals thus far. I know I’m struggling but the end is in sight!

Until next time!

Snack Attack (and The Fig Dilemma)

As final weeks pushes on (although I haven’t taken an exam yet) I find myself wanting to snack all the time. There’s something about doing stats problems or going over flash cards that is so much more enjoyable when munching. So of course I had to find some healthy snacks. First I tried edamame, which was great. The next night I got multi grain tortilla chips, probably not the healthiest way to go especially when I tend to eat at least half the big bag. But tonight I wanted to switch it up, mix sweet and salty and healthy all together. I’ve really been wanting to make a vegan caramel sauce recently, so what better time than the present? AKA what better time than when I have to study for a math test tomorrow. So I decided on caramel covered popcorn.

So I set to it, armed with my new favorite ingredient: dates. It was actually absurdly easy and took more time to clean up than to actually make. Also, the school’s market got pitted dates… Hooray! (It’s the little things I swear). Here is the recipe just for the caramel… Just make some popcorn and mix it around with the sauce.

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Ingredients: 1 cup pitted dates

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

1. Heat maple syrup and water over medium heat until they have mixed completely and the sauce is warm.

2. In a blender, blend the dates in small amounts until all are broken up as much as possible.

3. Pour syrup over dates and blend again until the whole mixture looks, well, like a caramel.

How easy was that? I mixed the popcorn and sauce with some dark chocolate and almonds. Next time I think I might try a chocolate caramel sauce because the chocolate made it even better. I thought this actually tasted quite similar to caramel corn! (Fun fact, Cracker Jacks are actually vegan as well, but not nearly as healthy as this.)

Healthy, Delicious Snack

Healthy, Delicious Snack

Also, I want to answer a question I’ve been asked a couple times now. Are figs vegan? I had mentioned earlier about having a fig salad but at that point I hadn’t even realized there was a dispute about whether the fruit was vegan. First, to clarify I am more “plant-based” rather than “vegan,” because I am only “vegan” in the fact I don’t eat animal by products. I still wear non-vegan clothes, drink non vegan beer and wine, etc. So in that sense figs are OK for me because they are definitely plants, thus plant based. But even if I was more stringent I would probably still eat figs. Having now done some research, I found out that a certain kind of wasps pollinate figs and then the female wasp dies in the fig. The fig basically breaks down the wasp and that’s that. They have a mutually beneficial relationship because the wasp needs the fig to pollinate while the fig needs the wasp to ripen. To me, it’s kind of like saying I can’t eat plants because the soil might have dead animals in it that made the soil fertilized. Obviously that cuts out my entire diet. Here is a helpful article on it:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/zoology/insects-arachnids/fig-wasp2.htm

Remember, I always want to answer questions so please send me more! Or if you want me to veganize anything I would love to.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

The Final(s) Week

I’m sure all of you college readers out there are suffering the same thing as me right now: Finals Week. (Of course, if you’re a friend of mine you know it’s actually my first day in the lib since the beginning of reading period. Oops.) Hence the lack of posts, of which I am sorry. But one week until I go home, and just wait until I have a full kitchen to work in. But for now here is one for all you procrastinators.

I think the best time to cook is when it’s for someone else. So when my sorority pham decided to have a dinner together before we all went our separate ways, I jumped at the chance to make something. I’m so lucky to have a group of friends who are willing to put up with my restricted diet, especially considering two of the six of us are gluten free.

So of course I had to do something vegan, gluten free, and fast. Since I don’t have an oven for myself I headed to my friend’s apartment early to whip something up before everyone else arrived. What’s an easy, comforting meal to help everyone through finals? Potatoes of course. So I grabbed some potatoes, a few sprigs of rosemary and a healthy helping of salt and pepper and considered it a success.

Delicious comfort food

Delicious comfort food

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients:

10-15 small, purple potatoes (I’m not sure exactly how much they ended up weighing so as usual I apologize for this being vague)

3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves cut off and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Chop up potatoes into bite sized pieces and place into a baking tray.

3. Drizzle on olive oil and stir the potatoes around until they are all covered in olive oil.

4. Sprinkle on rosemary, salt and pepper.

5. Cook in oven for 15-20 minutes.

Here are a few pictures from the feast… one of my friends made quinoa salad with corn, black beans and mushrooms. Another brought cooked carrots that sadly weren’t vegan. My Turkish friend brought Turkish rolls, but they had cheese in them :(. And my other friend brought roasted squash that was fabulous. Needless to say I ate way too much. Oh well, it’s finals week.

The full spread

The full spread

Sweet, roasted squash

Sweet, roasted squash

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

 

 

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to comment or e-mail me questions at vegancollegiate@gmail.com… I have a post coming up answering some questions for readers.

Tour of the Freshmen Cafeteria (Guest Post!)

Today I have a special guest post from one of my friend’s on campus. Over the next few weeks I will be doing vegan reviews of the places to eat on campus. What better way to start it off than with a senior going back to the freshman cafeteria. It’s also great to have someone else’s perspective on vegan eating, especially someone who is still making the transition. Enjoy!

Hi, I’m Vegan Collegiate’s senior friend! I am honored to have an opportunity to write for her and share some of my passion for food and healthy living!

Today some of our cute freshie friends offered to take us back to this place of our so called, “youth”. OHHHH to be young again! As a senior, there are definitely a few things I miss about being an underclassman. However, nothing quite sums up freshman year

like the freshman cafeteria. Oh yes, the epicenter of the freshman social scene, the location in which all chow down, and most of all, that of freshman sexual tension. I will never quite forget when I spotted my first college crush… sweaty after a grueling pre-season football game, as he nommed down on 5 slices of pieces, 3 chicken legs, a hamburger, and a large side salad drowning in Ranch Dressing, ohhh and I can’t forget two plates of French fries. I was smitten. Yes, those endless French fries aided in his solid weight gain I noticed as I creeped on him in the cafeteria. That said, I also fell victim to those freshman 15. Every meal became an event…first course, second course, third course….on and on! And then, one more plate of French fries!

Upon entering, I felt like I’d stepped back in time. So many memories! Since my freshman year, so much had also changed in the cafeteria, specifically on the food front. I was thrilled to see so many vegan options! Though I only tested out being vegan for a month (my steady streak was broken by the temptation of a Thanksgiving feast) I still try to make conscience decisions to eat more vegan meals.

In my total of four trips back and forth to the self-serve cafeteria stations I acquired quite a spread. My vegan coconut carrot soup was the delicious beginning to a HUGE hearty salad! YUMMMM. And sautéed mushroom with rice was also much enjoyed! Yes, the pizza and chicken wings still prevailed, yet if you look between the cracks I was amazed at the outcome of my meal. Taking veggies from different stations proved to be a great way to make an interesting sald. I.e. the Asian sautéed broccoli from the Asian station was a yummy addition to the barbequed carrots and peppers I was delighted to find at the grill station.

Freshman Throwback... So many options

Freshman Throwback… So many options

So many people think it’s too difficult to hold onto special dietary choices in college, but today’s experience really made me realize what a blessing a cafeteria could be to a vegan. There were so many different options (the sweet and sour tofu was delish). Yes, I could imagine the soup and salad bar would get old fast, but a trip to the sandwich bar loaded with fresh veggies, or a meatless stir-fry could do just the trick. I admit the fact that I’m not eating at the freshman caf for every meal, dramatically alters my opinion on it’s quality, thus, I had a very enjoyable experience both on the food front, and in getting back in touch with that freshman still within me. Plus—there were definitely some cute freshman boys!

Just to let all my other readers know if you’re ever interested in writing a guest post just e-mail me at vegancollegiate@gmail.com… I’d love to get lots of different perspectives on here, especially non-vegan ones.

Putting Myself Out There (and stuff with Peanut Sauce)


Before I start in on my post for today I really want to thank everyone who gave such positive feedback when I posted my blog to Facebook yesterday. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while but have been hesitant. I’m sure many of you have been in a situation where you’re proud of something but don’t know how other people would react. But nothing made me happier than checking my blog stats last night and seeing Vegan Collegiate had received 183 views! Thank you again and again, and please keep coming back!

Now back to the food. One of my favorite vegan blogs, Urban Vegan, has started a weekly piece called Use it Up Tuesday. Basically it means go into your pantry, refrigerator etc and find old ingredients you need to get rid of. Seeing as my food box is stuffed with a random assortment of things I have neglected to use, I thought this would be a perfect addition to my own blog. So here is my first use it up Tuesday!

I always need something quick, especially if I’m going to make something for lunch during the week. So I found some red lentils hiding in the bottom of my box, along with frozen peas and Trader Joe’s Peanut Satay sauce I made a quick lentil dish that was low cal, fast and delicious…

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup red lentils

3/4 cup vegetable stock

1/4 cup frozen peas

1.5 tablespoons Peanut satay sauce (feel free to make on from scratch)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Combine lentils and stock in a pot, along with salt and pepper, and put on medium/high heat. Make sure pot is covered.

2. Let lentils simmer for about 7 minutes then add peas and satay sauce.

3. Let cook for another minute or so until lentils have absorbed most of the liquid. I prefer my lentils al dente but let yours cook to your preferred softness.

4. Enjoy!

See? So fast and easy.

Note: This would be easily made into a full meal if more vegetables were added, just increase stock and satay sauce. I think anything would taste great in here: carrots, potatoes, celery, etc.

Easy, fast, use it up Tuesday

Easy, fast, use it up Tuesday

Get ready for a guest post coming in the near future!

Happy eating!