Vegan Eats Roundup: Back to School Edition

Vegan Eats Roundup: Back to School Edition

Back to school, back to busy season! My goodness it’s been just over a week and I already am feeling all the feels for this fall. Excitement, stress, uncertainty, and gratitude for opportunity! Between being a full time graduate student, TA, and rewatch assistant, it’s been a 10-day whirlwind and we’re just getting started.

I thought I’d do a recent eats recap for ya. I was doing them weekly for a while, but have sort of transitioned to bi-weekly, just because most of the time I’m lazy and forget to take pics and/or because I usually eat some variation of pb&j for most lunches during the school year (hey, it packs well and tastes delicious, don’t judge me). So here we go! Hope this inspires some yummy plant-based food ideas for you.

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Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream (And How to Veganize A Non-Vegan Cake Recipe)

Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream (And How to Veganize A Non-Vegan Cake Recipe)

Do you ever just feel the need to eat deliciously rich, Bruce Bogtrotter-worthy chocolate cake? Because I do. That’s where this Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream comes in.

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

One thing a lot people don’t realize about vegan baking is that it’s actually quite easy to veganize a lot of “conventional” recipes with a few simple swaps.

Non-dairy milk for regular milk, vegan butter in place of butter, and an egg replacement (1/4 cup applesauce or canned pumpkin, 1 tablespoon chia seed or ground flax + 3 tablespoons of water, or 1/4 cup silk tofu, to name a few) for the egg, whipped aquafaba for egg whites, etc, and viola! You’ve veganized your desired “conventional” baked good.

Vegan Chocolate Cake + Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

Now, it may take a couple of attempts to figure out which replacements you like best, and/or which ones work best for your old favorite “conventional” recipes, but it’s truly not as scary as it sounds, and experimenting in the kitchen, though it can lead to some epic fails, can also lead to exciting new and wonderful creations of your own.

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Cauliflower Steak with Herb & Hummus Sauce and Hazelnuts

Cauliflower Steak with Herb &  Hummus Sauce and Hazelnuts

I love cauliflower; it’s one of my favorite vegetables. I’d even go so far as putting in my top three most loved vegetables, alongside sweet potatoes and romaine. And lucky for my tastebuds, cauliflower is finally having the moment I’ve always believed it deserves, and I’ve been trying it in every shape and form I can get my hands on. However, I realized last week I’d not yet made a Cauliflower ‘steak’ before, and then when whole heads of cauliflower went on sale when I was at the stores a few hours later, I decided to give it a try, and the Cauliflower steak with Herb & hummus sauce was born.

Vegan Cauliflower Steak with Herb & Hummus Sauce and Hazelnuts

The result was an interesting and different veggie-packed dish that I will make again and again. Now, obviously, a cauliflower steak is nothing like a beef steak and I am by no means trying to fool anyone there.

Easy vegan Cauliflower Steak with Herb & Hummus Sauce and Hazelnuts

Rather, I think this is a fun way to eat veggie and should be enjoyed in its own entity (I feel the same way about rice vs cauliflower rice – just different foods completely, so I don’t compare or replace them with one another, but enjoy them for what they are). I went with a rather simple preparation for the cauliflower. Just a bit of high-heat oil, salt, and pepper.

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Vegan Tomato Pie

Vegan Tomato Pie

In case you didn’t know, I moved to Jersey City, New Jersey last October and have really enjoyed it thus far.

Vegan Tomato Pie

After so many years in Manhattan, Jersey City has been a welcomed change of pace, and a couple weeks ago, in light of #InternationalNewJerseyDay, I did some googling to learn more about Jersey’s historical background and food scene.

delicious easy vegan tomato pie

While Wikipedia-ing and googling away, I discovered that addition to diner food and blueberries and bagels, New Jersey tomato pie is a thing.

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Tips for Eating Out Vegan Anywhere

Tips for Eating Out Vegan Anywhere

I get a lot of requests for tips on how to order or what to get as a vegan at a restaurant or on the go. As someone who grew up a lactose-intolerant vegetarian in meat-and-dairy land Wisconsin, I have quite a bit of experience in this area, and thought I’d share with you, some of my favorite tips and tricks for eating out vegan.

I hope you find this advice practical and useful in all scenarios, including those in which you may find yourself at a non-vegetarian friendly restaurant. If you have any other tips you think I missed, or any further questions, please do drop them in the comments section, and or message me on Instagram.

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Weekly Vegan Eats

Weekly Vegan Eats

Another week to roundup some of the nommie things I ate. I had kind of a rough week between a couple bad allergic reactions causing skin rash outbreaks and eye swelling (cute, I know), and Millie getting super sick, but regardless, here are some scrumptious vegan food highlights to help inspire your eats if you’re in a rut!

(PS: Millie is doing much better now thanks to our wonderful vet in Hoboken and a couple rounds of antibiotics!)

Pistachio Butter

Easy Homemade Pistachio Butter

Holy cow! This stuff is incredible. I have been fluctuating between inhaling and trying to slowly savor this stuff since I made it last week. You can get the recipe here. It’s lovely on bread and toast and on bread with jelly and with chocolate. Can’t get enough!

Cherries cherries cherries

Holy cow ShopRite came through with the cherry sale this week. This was a particularly juicy, plump, and flavorful batch. I mowed through a huge bag in under 36 hours. Could have done it faster, but wanted to spread the wealth over more than one day. YUM. I actually went back on Thursday for another bag, which I ate in its entirety that day.

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What I’ve eaten this week (plant-based)

What I’ve eaten this week (plant-based)

Time for another roundup! Here are some snacks and meals from my past week. I hope it inspires you to eat something oh so delicious and satisfying, too.

Salad + Fries from Hamilton Inn

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Last Friday night I went out to diner with my mom at Hamilton Inn, which is a pretty hyped place in Jersey City. I had always been curious to see if it lived up to the hype…but apparently not curious enough to go until now.

Welp, on Friday it was nice out, and so we decided to take advantage of their outdoor seating and give it a whirl. I got a Roasted Sweet Potato salad with mixed greens, apples, dried cranberries, cherry tomatoes, and some other stuff with maple vinaigrette, and I added avocado to make it more filling. The combo of veggies and cranberries and dressing and apples was really refreshing. I also loved the dressing. I’m gonna recreate this dish at home, but maybe with nuts.

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I also snagged a bite of a vegan realistic-meat-substitute burger my mom got and shared her fries. The burger was good but not my kinda thing (I prefer veggie burgers that taste and feel like beans or veggies, not meat), but the fries were really good. Crispy but not greasy (I hate when fries are overly greasy and soggy).

Overall, a good meal, although a little overpriced IMHO. Regardless, still a great meal, and Millie had a good time, too.

Beyond Sushi 

Are you even surprised? Haha! My favorite ever. On Tuesday I had tickets to the late show with Steven Colbert. After some ticket mix ups and confusion I ended up taking my mom. I think she enjoyed it? TV show tapings are kinda like a lot of waiting around for 5-6 hours total to watch 30-50 minutes of actual show taping.

Still, I find it interesting to see what goes into television production.

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Easy Raw Vegan Cheesecake for 2

Easy Raw Vegan Cheesecake for 2

All my life I’ve dreamed of a working blender or food processor. And thanks to Amazon Prime day, my dream has become a reality at last, and I can now part ways with my $12 Food Network brand mini food processor from Kohl’s circa 2009. This major upgrade has helped bring me (and you) this incredibly easy raw vegan cheesecake.

Easy Vegan Raw Lemon Cheesecake

Now. Raw cheesecake is something I’ve wanted to make for…oh I don’t know basically forever. But my old mini food processor was so small, dull, and crappy, that it could barely dice a ripe banana.

I’ve dreamt about making raw cheesecakes and smooth hummus and nut butters for years but never had the right equipment to properly execute these desires.

Easy Raw Lemon Cheesecake for 2

Enter new Ninja blender. Enter happiness. And freedom and inspiration to make ALL OF THE THINGS. Stay tuned!

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Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol

Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol

I recently wrote up a little story for a friend’s upcoming project about how a lot of alcohol isn’t vegan (yup). If you want to know more about that, then stay tuned! I’ll link to it once it’s live.

In the meantime, though, I got to thinking about my relationship with alcohol and thought I might explain why I don’t drink. I actually get asked about this a lot, so I thought I’d explain why I hit the hot cocoa over the vino after a long day.

I just wanted to make a disclaimer that I don’t judge others for drinking, nor do I mind if others drink around me. Booch is as hard as I go for a rage, but if you want a nice glass of wine or a drink when you’re out, I support you doing whatever makes you happy!

I simply thought I’d share why I don’t drink, since sometimes not drinking when you’re in your 20s can feel sort of isolating, since drinking is the norm these days, in hopes that others who don’t drink (or don’t drink often) realize they’re not alone. And also to sort of explain to those who may not understand my choice why I make it.

There are several reasons why I don’t drink, so I’m just going to list them here for your enjoyment.

1. I honestly do not enjoy being intoxicated, nor think being drunk is fun.

545358_3470391610990_318705946_nWinery tour in France, summer 2012. Please notice how awkward I look holding wine lol.

Being intoxicated just isn’t a good time to me. I know that’s hard for a lot of people to understand, since so many find it relaxing and enjoyable. But personally, it makes my anxiety go wild.

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What I’ve eaten this week (vegan)

What I’ve eaten this week (vegan)

Another food roundup for ya! Hope these meals and snacks inspire some deliciousness in your life.

Just Salad:

Grabbed Just Salad the other day with my mom who is in town. Just Salad will forever be my fav salad chain. No shade to the others, just Salad just holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s the reusable bowls, maybe it’s all the toppings. Perhaps it’s the yummy grilled roasted tofu or the variety of dressings or the nostalgia of it all since it was a staple for NYUers since they had one right by the library. Whatever it is. It yum.

My go-to is a build-your-own with kale and romaine mixed as the base, with apples, double roasted sweet potatoes, raw beets, apples, roasted broccoli, chickpeas, avocado, and grilled tofu. With agave Dijon dressing. And bread always, duh. YUM.

Onigiri from KoroKoro Riceball cafe

Recently tried a local onigiri cafe in jersey city and am hooked! They have rice balls stuffed with yummy and creative fillings.

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Onigiri is itself a Japanese Street food, but the fillings are Koro koro are inspired by other cultures making it a fun fusion place of sorts.

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