Tag Archives: vegan

Quinoa Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars

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Granola bars were always a favorite of mine. I’m guilty of being especially fond of the Quaker Chewy bars, until the whole GMO thing came to light and the fact that they use milk powder in their granola mix (I know, right??). Late last night, the craving struck. I wanted a granola bar and I wanted it right then and there. Knowing I couldn’t eat my non-vegan roommate’s chewy bars, I starting digging around for ingredients to make my own. I climbed up onto the counter to get a better view of the contents of my cupboard. With the excitement mounting, I starting picking different grains and testing their raw crunch factor until I found a suitable mix for a granola bar.

And then I remembered the box of Theo drinking chocolate that I scored at the NYC Green Festival this weekend.

I had the makings for a chocolate chip chewy bar, and miraculously all of the ingredients are organic.

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Now, I’ve dabbled with making my own granola before, but this is my first bar excursion. I have to say that I’m quite pleased with myself.

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So what did I use to make these tasty little guys?

  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Scottish Ground Oats, but I think any slow cooking chewy oat will work)
  • 1/2 cup of raw millet
  • 1/2 cup or raw white quinoa
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 raw honey if you’re a honey-vegan, use a scant 1/4c of agave if you abstain from it.
  • 4 shakes (about a 1/4-1/2 tsp) pumpkin pie seasoning. Apple pie will work as well, but it’s really just a mix of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips
  • Optional- the Theo chocolate that I used already contains vanilla, but if yours does not add about a 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste or extract.

The breakdown:
In a wide shallow pan, (I used a 12″ nonstick saute pan), turn the heat up to medium high and add your coconut oil. Once it melts spread your oats, quinoa, and millet. Toast them up until they start to smell nutty and get to be a golden brown. Don’t let them start to smell like burning popcorn, if you start to smell that then take them off the heat and give them a stir. If they’re still pale in most places, turn the flame down to medium. Add your salt and cinnamon mix/pumpkin/apple pie seasoning and stir it all up. Now you’ll want to turn the heat down and let it cool until it’s warm to the touch. I know raw honey can be a pain to work with, so make sure the granola is still warm enough to make it easy to distribute the honey but not too hot so as not to denature the healthy properties of it. If you’re adding vanilla, the time to do it is along with the agave or honey. Once your agave/honey (and vanilla, if applicable) are evenly distributed into your granola, wait until it cools a bit further until you add your chocolate chips. I stirred mine in a little too soon and the chocolate melted a bit. Once you’ve mixed all of your ingredients together, line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment or wax paper and press the granola into the pan and let cool. After they’ve set, turn the granola brick out onto a cutting board and slice into 1″ sections.

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A Tofu Scramble and Thoughts on Confidence

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Being a woman, and having female friends, our confidence is something that is relatively easy to shatter, and like trust; it can take a very long time to earn it back again. We can break our own confidence, or it can break at the will of another’s harsh words; simply a look by another, or worse, just by seeing someone walk by. I don’t even mean confidence about only our physical appearance. Society has shaped itself into something that has made every one of us very vulnerable and what we look like, do, or believe is only okay upon receiving the approval of the majority.

Knowing this fact, how many days do you look in the mirror and throw on an outfit that you might like, but are worried someone else might think you look ridiculous? You try a new hair do out, you like it, but you’re afraid you just “can’t pull it off”, you don’t want to wear make-up, or you do want to wear make-up one day; but decide against it because of how other people might react to this different facade? Have you ever stood in front of the mirror in your 2 piece swimsuit and thought for a second “wow I actually look pretty hot!” but decided against wearing it? What about all that “embarrassing” music you have in your ipod? Don’t want people to see it? Collect something that you don’t want people to “judge”
Why?

We’re always second guessing ourselves! Maybe it was a cruel ex who never thought we looked good enough, maybe it was a parent that was just a little too hard on us, maybe we got picked on in school, maybe one friend (as much as we claim to appreciate it) is a little too brutal in their honesty. We can even blame it on the media; dictating what’s cool to do, wear, listen to, watch, speak like, look like, weigh, and what’s not. Where do you think these fad diets come from? It’s all some bologna to get you to fit the cookie cutter mold we’ve been trained to look up to. Everyone in their own shape and size is beautiful in their own way, some are naturally very thin, and some are heavier.

Regardless of whom or what may have kicked our confidence out at the back of the knees; upon talking to several women in recent weeks and realizing just how low our confidence is as a whole, I think it’s time to really sit back and think about why we look upon ourselves with such disapproval, and think of reasons why we shouldn’t. Confidence isn’t really something that just happens. Think of it like getting over a bad break-up. Can you get over someone if you don’t try? No, you can’t. You cry, and you cry, and you cry some more, but if you’re only thinking about how much you miss your S.O., then how on earth are you ever going to get over them? You need to think of why you broke up, and why you’ll be okay. You have to think of what you can do. That’s how confidence works. Why is it gone? Why did I let go of it? Don’t I deserve to have it back?

My confidence didn’t used to be what it is today, and it will continue to grow and change. Life is rough, and I’ve had my years in the toilet; everyone has their tough patches. There was a time when I would see my reflection and feel nauseous at what I saw, because of my weight, my face; I would look and see not only my physical appearance, but what a “loser” I thought I was. One day I realized how my being so hard on myself would influence the most important person in my life: my little sister. If I keep doing this to myself, will she pick up on my traits? Will she feel so terrible about herself if it’s okay for me? That day, I forced myself to strip down in front of a full length mirror and say ten things that were beautiful about myself. 5 physical, and 5 personality. I think the first day I did this I was up until 4 in the morning with nothing to say to myself. I forced myself to keep doing this until I started to believe it. In the morning while getting ready I would finally not have to think about it, and a compliment to myself would pop into my head. I encourage you all to try this, male or female. No one has to know that you’re doing this so don’t feel embarrassed… I know it feels silly but I really think this helped to pick me up from a very unhappy place.

I think it’s fair to say that we all have at least one outside person in our lives that tells us how beautiful or handsome we are. I can say this because I already know that we are all beautiful people; inside and out. I was lucky in finding a boy that really opened my eyes to this, and helped to really BELIEVE what I had been telling myself since I was 16 years old: “you are beautiful”, and this means something to me, because he actually knows and believes this, pure and simple.

I’m here writing this to you all right now to be to you; what his eyes are to me.

You’re all on this journey, and we’re all on different levels. We need to learn to accept ourselves and better ourselves on a deeper level than looking like whichever celebrity. I am hoping that you are doing this to please yourself and no one else. I hope that envisioning your final “product” isn’t the only thing keeping you going; because I know that every single one of us deserves to truly love every single facet of ourselves, in progress or not. The journey is the part that really matters, I want you all to sit back and think about what you’re telling yourself to motivate you through this ride: You are already beautiful, and you deserve to be happier.

You hold all the power in the world to make yourself beautiful, and all it takes is the confidence to see it in your own reflection.

Now: On to the food!

Today we have a Tofu Scramble

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I normally don’t like tofu unless it’s marinated to taste like something else. I hate using it in frostings and dessert recipes. I don’t like it in smoothies. To me, it just tastes like mushy beans. Tofu scramble is the main exception for me.

In my pre-vegan days, eggs were my favorite food (that weren’t ice cream.) They’re versatile! They’re filling! They’re delicious! But those days are over, and I have no choice but to try to make tofu taste as amazing as possible- and that’s where this tofu scramble comes in.

The goods (This is how much I use to feed just myself):

  • 1/3 cup of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed, then crumbled
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced or julienne
  • 3 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • a small handful of seitan crumbles or slices
  • 1 tsp curry powder (make sure it doesn’t have ginger! if you don’t have this, just use cumin, coriander, turmeric- about 1/4 tsp each.)
  • a healthy pinch of sea salt (I like to use celtic grey salt)
  • a few cranks of fresh black pepper
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp of water or veggie/mushroom broth
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional!)

First things first, heat up your non-stick skillet. Add your olive oil and start to saute your onions and garlic with the salt, pepper, red pepper, and curry.

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Once your onions start to become translucent, add your mushrooms. They’ll only start to brown on the edges when you want to add your water/broth, seitan, and your tofu. If you don’t like your peppers raw, you can add them in now, but I like to save them for last so they’re nice and crunchy.

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Once the liquid is almost cooked off, add your nutritional yeast and turn off the heat. Mix it in so that the yeast becomes smooth, but you don’t want to keep it hot for too long so as to prevent the vitamin B12 from denaturing. Once that’s all mixed in, toss in your peppers if you haven’t already and eat up!

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Filed under Meals, Two Cents, Vegan Meals, Vegetarian Meals