Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Personal Vegan Chef: I'm Fancy

Let me start off by saying I have hired my own personal Vegan Chef.  And this is an example of what she makes me for breakfast.  You are looking at yummy, gluten-free banana-blueberry pancakes!

She made me dozens of these awesome pancakes (that I drizzle with honey) & put them in little freezer baggies for me so that I could just take them out & pop them in the microwave whenever I want them.  Perfect right?!  Make one batch & eat them over time!

From Breakfast to Lunch!  Next she made an entire spinach, mushroom, tofu quiche made with chickpea flour crust... YUMMY!  What a treat!  And once again, I was able to freeze all the extra pieces.  I'm just a single girl (with 2 doggies!) so I am all about freezing meals & eating them later since I am NEVER in the mood to cook!

Snacktime!  Steamed Artichokes with Walnut Aoili dipping sauce.  The best "snack" I have ever had!  Goodbye pretzels & hummus - this is WAY better & full of much more flavor!

Now to Dinner: Tempeh Tacos with tomato salsa, fresh avocado, daiya cheese, tofu "sour cream" & refried beans.  Seriously... Any meat eater in the world could have tried these tacos & they would not have known the difference AT ALL!  

My Vegan Chef may be amazing but I put my own personal twist on her creation & turned my tacos into nachos!  Why?  Because I like Tostito Lime chips much better than those boring old taco shells.  But my favorite part of this meal had to be the tofu "sour cream."  It was out of this world - no missing meat with this meal!

Snack time again!  And this is my personal favorite.  Air-popped popcorn misted with truffle olive oil & sprinkled with sea salt.  If I could only eat one thing all day, everyday for every meal, it would absolutely, without a doubt, be popcorn!  So this is probably the thing I eat the most: as desert, breakfast, whatever!  Thank God it's Vegan... Otherwise I may not be ;)

And for desert?  Double chocolate-chip cookies made with coconut oil, cocoa powder & Ghiardelli chocolate chips!  These were rich & decadent & crispy & could compete with any fancy-schmancy non-vegan cookie on the market.  My new personal vegan chef is extremely talented & I'm so lucky to have her & she is very affordable!  Would you like to meet her?

She's my MOM!!  And she's the BEST!  My Mom has always been an amazing culinary talent but when I told her I had decided to go Vegan, she was more than happy to test her talents minus the meat.  And she goes way beyond the extra mile.  I'm fine just eating steamed vegetables & lentils... But not when my Mother is around!  You see all the fancy fare she prepares for fun!  She likes to try new recipes & expand her kitchen horizons.  The veggie lifestyle is certainly rubbing off on her because she has not purchased meats in months.  Keep your vegan fingers crossed ;)

And this is me at work eating my Mom's "healthy apple oatmeal" mini-muffin tops!  They are filled with cranberries, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds & fruit juice.  I eat these mini-muffins for breakfast or as snacks because they are sooooo healthy - they don't have oil or anything fattening in them at all!  I need to put in another order of these guys!  I love my new personal Vegan Chef Mommy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Organic Vegan on the Farm

Welcome to the White Rabbit Organic Food Farm in Vero Beach!  Visiting this special place is one of the coolest experiences I have had shopping for organic fruits & veggies!  And it has such a cute name too :)

First of all, this place is very underground & hush-hush, kinda like the speak-easy for farm-fresh food shopping.  The Reporter in me feels like I'm blowing their classified cover by giving you the exclusive sneak-peek of this out-of-the-way no-frills market.

My parents were my tour guides & they still got lost getting to this tucked-in store!  Making the wrong turn twice & second-guessing which dirt road it was down... & they've been here a few times.  You can't even find this place on google maps! I know because I tried.  But like I said, this is not a farm co-op that is looking for any fan-fare.  But make no mistake, the 'White Rabbit' has FANS.

The faithful that frequent the establishment know exactly what is in season, what is grown on the property, what is available & for sale, what will be available in a few weeks. Everyone who walked into the joint, I approached to ask questions, thinking they must work there.  Every person answered my questions but they were all customers, not employees.  Because guess what?  There are none!

You scoop your own dry goods & weigh your own vegetables.  This is self-service all the way!  My Dad got a kick out of the walk-in refrigerator.  He scooped up evaporated cane juice my Mom needed for a recipe while I munched on dehydrated banana chips - no oil, no sugar.  This is not your average Whole Foods or Fresh Market!  This is like an old-time grocery store... & what was most unexpected is the surprising location of Vero Beach!

Homegrown Honey!  Harvested from local honey bees and of course... it's organic.  I love supporting local farmers that keep sustainable food in the area, so that they can keep a low carbon footprint by avoiding shipping products all over the U.S.  And I love honey!  Seriously, I've cut refined sugar & corn syrup as much out of my diet as I possibly can, so sugar has become a yummy substitute for sweetening! 

Look at all those fresh fruits & veggies in the cold cases!  My Mom & I were drooling over the kale & grapes while my Dad & I devoured the watermelon & apples!  The White Rabbit has those healthy super foods that you will never find at Publix or Winn Dixie.  Ok... I know I get excited about eating Vegan & choosing super clean food choices, but this visit to the farm makes grocery shopping fun, so that you can get excited about cooking your next meal or preparing a healthy snack.  It's an adventure!

And this may be the coolest part of all... Remember I told you that I couldn't find anyone that worked there?  Well, the entire store is on the honor system!  How awesome is that?  Believing the best in human beings in 2013??  I LOVE IT!  So you have to weigh your own fruits & veggies in the old-fashioned scale... Then you add up your grocery total on the calculator from the 1960's... Then you put your cash (no credit cards!) into a little yellow envelope... And you drop it to to a box.  But what if you don't have exact change?  Money is laying out on the counter to make change... Can you believe that?  Amazing trusting owners in this day & age... Because the people shopping at this farm store support what they are doing.  Isn't that how it should be?

My Mom & I both love to shop, she loves to cook & I love to eat!  So this shopping adventure was right up our alley.  She made me homemade vegan chocolate chip cookies with the evaporated cane juice we bought, I chopped up tons of bites of watermelon for my Dad & me to chow down on & now I know where to get kale when I'm in Vero, because I pretty much put kale in everything I eat!

It was a beautiful sunny day to visit the White Rabbit!  Those beautiful blue skies fed these tall sunflowers... Taller than me!  These are the biggest sunflowers I have ever seen... This guy had to be nearly seven feet tall!  What a day... fun with the family... Honest purchasing of healthy eats & home to cool it all... Yummy for my tummy = HAPPINESS!