Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mango Pudding - a low calorie treat, with RECIPE

Sometimes, you just need something to eat for breakfast or dessert or anytime, really, that is refreshing, filling, a little sweet and a little sassy. For me, that is my mango pudding. I know the rest of the country is starting to cool down, but here it is over 100 degrees still. Yesterday I went on a nature walk with my wonderful husband and got a sunburn… yes, at the very end of August. It is still the time of year when light food is the order of the day.


For those of you who feel like I do, here is my favorite new recipe! I just had it for breakfast and I feel wonderful and ready to get on with the day.


Mango Pudding

1 12 oz package of light firm silken tofu

2 cups of cubed peeled mango

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons agave nectar


Blend all ingredients until completely smooth, and then for an additional minute (to add air and make it light and fluffy). Refrigerate at least 2 hours before eating, then enjoy!!


Quick, easy, tasty, with a nice boost of protein and fiber. Love.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Food Review: Sophie's Kitchen Vegan Calamari

Vegan Calamari
Sophie’s Kitchen
Price at Whole Foods $5.99
Stars: 1 star
At a recent expedition to Whole Foods with my wonderful husband, I happened upon this vegan calamari. I was both intrigued and excited. There are two meats that I have not found a good substitution for – calamari and buffalo. Thinking that I perhaps found at least one of those, I spent my $5.99 + tax on a box and rushed home with it. I prepared it according to the directions on the package, (using the oven, not the microwave) and used some of my favorite marinara sauce for dipping purposes. I was very excited, and then I bit in.

With calamari, you want it to be a little rubbery, but I had to check to see if I was actually eating rubber bands. It was that bad. After several chews, I managed to get the first ring swallowed, and it hit my stomach with the velocity of a cannon ball shot at maximum speed. I thought the first one was a fluke, so I kept going. Each and every ring was a new revelation in gastronomic horror. By the time I was done with one serving, I felt like I had swallowed every pebbles of gravel. I didn’t want to waste the rest, so I ended up finishing off the rest of the box, but never again.
Jason later said that it was a repackaged Asian brand, or he was reasonably sure it was. I don’t know what it was other than A: bad and B: traumatic. I also know what else it is. It is never coming into my house again. Save yourself this horror and stay away from Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Calamari.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Rekindling the Spark with Your Veganism

Finding inspiration when you first start something is easy. Everything about the new activity or hobby is new. All the sights and smells are exciting, and every success fills you with the endorphins of falling in love. That is what happened to me when I became a vegan. As the only vegan I knew, every time I made something edible with one of my handful of vegan cookbooks was a triumph. I spent time in the grocery stores wandering up and down the aisles, trying to find packaged food that was vegan. It was scary and wonderful all at the same time. Every new bite made me feel excited and rebellious.

Time passed. I met other vegans. I married one of them, and our household is an all vegan establishment. Having two vegan chefs at home with tons of kitchen toys, a large bedroom converted into a pantry, and two refrigerators filled with ingredients means that if I can dream it, within a handful of hours, one of us can have it done and on the table for sampling. It is both wonderful and it can be a tricky thing at the same time. I am no longer a vegan on a honeymoon with everything new and heady. I am now in a long term relationship with veganism and I have to find a way to make it work.

Recently, to gather some inspiration and catch lightning in a bottle again, I drove down to Whole Foods. It was a 45 minute drive from my current house, and my husband waited patiently as I strolled down every aisle. I checked packages for some new things to try, picked up some old foods I had not bought since I learned to make them better, and fell into the nostalgia of excitement.  Quickly, I was that new vegan again, trying stuff for the first time. I loaded up the cart, and headed home.

That was earlier this week and the excitement is still there, and still contagious. I am thrilled to try new recipes, to make better versions of some of the things I grabbed that were just awful, and that creativity even makes me want to do some sewing. Being creative is something that often snowballs from one realm to another with me.

So if you are reading this as a new vegan, hold onto this time. This time is special and you will look back on it with fondness. If you are reading this as an accomplished vegan, take some time and do something you only did as a newly minted vegan. Make a date night with your lifestyle and find that spark, even if you think it is not missing. You’ll be glad that you did.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Food Review - Mint Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans

I am so excited and happy. I have this routine when I am at Trader Joes (almost every day) and there is a new dark chocolate product. It might look delicious, it might smell divine, but when I am asked if I want a sample and I check, I sadly learn that it contains dairy. It is DARK chocolate, people!! Keep the cow utter extract out of it! ***Public service announcement – for those who did not know, milk is expressed comes from the chest of a mammal. Yep. Gross. ***

Today, I noticed the new minty espresso dark chocolate covered coffee beans. It was 115 degrees outside and I wanted nothing more than to sample and enjoy just a few minty beans. I have a compulsion to check the labels of almost all food, so I checked and I was VERY happy to discover that I could, in fact, enjoy these!! Imagine my delight and joy. I was even able to have a sample in the store. Delicious is the first word that comes to mind, but it falls short of explaining how awesome these are. They have the complexity and non overt sweetness of dark chocolate, with a bright burst of refreshing mint. In the middle of it all is a small nugget of coffee bean you can crunch for a bit of texture and tannic, dark flavor. The only small drawback it the chocolate itself does have a slight waxy texture, but it is not horrible or overpowering. It is only there.

If you are looking for a bright treat for these summer months, I recommend these. If you keep them in the refrigerator you can grab a bean or two for a low calorie dessert, or a little chocolate fix.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Madelyn's Magical Dressing with RECIPE!

Cracking the Code

When I became vegan, I needed to change the way that I ate. I got rid of many of the old, bad things I used to eat and sought out new alternatives. One of those things I found was my favorite salad dressing. It was a miso mustard Dijon. It was sweet, tangy, and wonderful. It felt alive and though I was broke, and it was $5 a bottle, I bought it by the case. You have never seen anything as sad as the poor UPS man lugging a heavy, heavy box up to your door, wanting to know what was inside, and you tell him it is salad dressing. I think I destroyed two people’s souls doing this.

For over 5 years, I have tried to recreate that recipe. One year ago, they changed the formula. It was no longer ‘my dressing’ but some foreign stuff that was not the same. It didn’t have the same magic that made me pour dressing over salads, dip raw cauliflower in it, and have to really fight the urge to just drink it by the sweet, sweet glass full.

Then, last night, a miracle happened. I decided to make something close, because I wanted to munch on some cauliflower and I didn’t have any type of dressing. It had been a year since I tried to crack the recipe code, and this time I was not really trying. I just was trying to come up with something good. I made it exactly. And I do mean exact. I even figured out the calories and it was exact, which makes me think I might have cracked the company formula. Now I can make it myself, it is fresh and delicious. I also cleaned out a balsamic bottle that was almost empty so I will even have a pretty bottle to store it in. Yay!

If you also love tangy sweet salad dressings, here is the formula.

Madelyn’s Miso Dijonaise

¼ cup white miso
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp yellow mustard (organic preferred)
2 tbsp maple syrup (grade B preferred)
½ teaspoon – 1 teaspoon of black poppy seeds

Combine and whisk until smooth. Store in the refrigerator after creation. One TBSP has 45 calories, but adds a LOT of love to salads and raw veggies.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Hi everyone! I know it has been a few days since I updated. I taught a few classes, went on vacation for a few days, got back tonight and cut the tar out of my finger. Luckily, it was not near any of the food I was cooking, but I still had to step out of the kitchen and let Jason clean up and finish. He was both kind and a gentleman about it. He helped me with my finger and then took over all the cleaning for the day.

So I wanted to let you know that I have not forgotten about my beautiful blog. When I can type again normally (might be a few days) I’ll  get some new items posted.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette WITH RECIPE

Tomorrow I am teaching a class on sandwiches for the Wellness Community! It is fun driving out to the north west part of the valley and visiting our friends in Sun City.

Sandwiches are one of the foods I get the most requests for, and yet I love them. They can be simple or complex, portable or needing a fork and plate before you even think about going there. They are complicated in form and construction, (like me!)

Of course, little touches make a huge difference. I think a lot of us know that we can put salad dressing on simple sandwiches to give them a bit of ‘punch’, but how much more awesome is it to make your own salad dressing?

Here is a simple little salad dressing that can go on sandwiches, salads, or be a dip for veggies.

Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 small bottle

½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 tablespoons organic granulated sugar or agave

½ teaspoon pepper

Blend together and enjoy on sandwiches or salads. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.