July 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
Two years ago, on July 3rd 2011, I took the plunge and decided to try a 30 day vegan challenge. It probably wasn’t the brightest idea to start the day before July 4th as I was headed to a party. With every non-vegan dish that arrived, my mom kept saying, “Can’t you go vegan tomorrow?” But after already successfully completing a full day, I stuck with it and surprisingly it has turned into such an exciting journey. I truly believe this diet not only nourishes my body but my spirit as well. Preparing and eating cruelty-free meals is truly a rewarding experience and has become an amazing passion.
Going vegan has done so much for me and my health. Not only do I rarely have that afternoon slump anymore (OK, becoming a new mom was hard and I’ll admit I felt “slumpy” often) but I’ve learned to eat, and importantly love, so many foods that I never touched before! Mushrooms, eggplant, avocados, and beans are just a few of the foods that you’d previously never find in my kitchen and I now can’t get enough of. Plus, finding ways to create old favorites in new ways never loses its appeal.
Taking the vegan plunge also pushed me to do more research and I’ve become such a natural food junkie – eager to learn more about where my food comes from and how it is grown – something I really never thought about before. Plus over the last two years I’ve learned so much about food and its role on health that there is no turning back for me. I’m so happy with the decisions I’ve made and how they’ve impacted those around me.
Here’s some links if you’re thinking of going vegan:
- Why I took a vegan challenge
- How my 30 day vegan challenge turned out
- My vegan pregnancy
- Quick tips for eliminating dairy
- The movie that will surely make you want to be vegan
And last, here’s a link for the awesome raw vegan strawberry pie we enjoyed this fourth of July. So simple to make and satisfying. I was shocked at how quick and easy it was. Plus, this crust is going to be my new go-to! This was a great addition to our July 4th celebration and a perfect two-year celebration treat!
May 31, 2011 § 1 Comment
There’s something about freshly made waffles and pancakes that transports you right back to childhood. I always loved weekend mornings growing up. My family liked to make a big deal out of breakfast – whipping up fresh pancakes, French toast, or eggs and bacon to start the day off right. We’d all be in the kitchen working together and then sit at the table lingering long after the last piece was eaten. Now off and married, I realize these weekends were very much the result of my mom. She was the one who would get this ritual started most times.
Now I’m off and married and similar to my mom, it’s me carrying on this ritual in my home. I haven’t made waffles often – partly due to effort and partly due to calories. Yes, we grow up and have to pay attention to calories and making waffles suddenly isn’t such a good idea anymore. But once in a while doesn’t hurt. My husband hasn’t ever really developed a taste for sweet breakfasts so when I make them, I’m cooking for one. So I mostly reserve my waffle cooking for special occasions when I can feed many like recently on Mother’s Day. However, some mornings you just wake up and have an itching for something delicious. That was me Sunday morning. As I sat having my morning coffee, I decided I deserved a little indulgence of happiness, even if it was just for me. Plus I had the last few cups of buttermilk in the fridge and figured I might as well put it to good work. Buttermilk waffles it was!
As I was cooking for one, I cut the recipe in half. To be fair, I would have made even less but dividing the recipe by anything other than 2 was too complicated for a Sunday morning. (I have a handy dandy recipe divider magnet at Crate and Barrel which is one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. It helps do the math for you and is a big help.) Recipes with an odd number of eggs as this one are always tricky. What I find best is just mix the eggs separately as the recipe calls for and divide it after. Trying to “cut” an egg yolk in half is challenging. You could always make the full recipe and put the remaining in the freezer for another day. Just make sure you freeze them or pack separately and don’t put them straight into a bag or they will freeze together.
The star of this recipe is the buttermilk which makes these waffles rich and decadent. Egg whites are beaten and folded in to create a light and fluffy batter which balances out the rich, buttery flavor. These would also be great with any fruit you choose or chocolate chips if you want to really have a treat. Equally a little orange zest would be delicious in the batter and lighten it up for Summer. Today I topped my waffles with fresh strawberries and just a small drizzle of syrup – the syrup was preference. These waffles are equally delicious on their own. If you’re up to it you can whip up some fresh whipped cream with a little sugar and vanilla to top them off with – that’s what I did for Mother’s Day and they were simply divine.
I should warn you – if you don’t want to eat more than 2, quickly put them away after you serve yourself. If you make the mistake I did of leaving them on the counter, one or two more may just disappear at the result of your fingers, no fork needed.
If you like waffles and don’t have a waffle maker, you should definitely look at All-Clad’s waffle maker. It makes the perfect waffle each and every time. This recipe actually comes from All-Clad as well. It calls for you to sift the dry ingredients but honestly, I’ve never done this and never missed it. The egg whites ensure a light batter so unless you’re a perfectionist, save yourself the trouble and just enjoy Sunday morning by throwing it all together in a bowl and call it a day.
Recipe from All-Clad
Makes twelve 4-inch waffles
3 eggs, separated
1 ¾ cups buttermilk
8 tbs. unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar
Maple syrup and fresh fruit for serving
- Preheat waffle maker on medium-high heat. Preheat oven to 200°F. (the oven is to keep the waffles warm and crisp them slightly. If you like them softer and plan to serve right away you can skip this and just keep them warm on a plate with a paper towel and some foil).
- In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar until smooth (sift if desired).
- In a small bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into batter.
- Pour about 1/3 cup batter into each well of waffle maker. Cook until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to baking sheet and oven if desired to keep warm.
- Serve with fruit and syrup.
Update: See the vegan pancakes I’m whipping up on weekends these days.