Archives for January 2013

January Vegan Food Swap Reveal

I’ve joined in the fun for the Vegan Food Swap hosted by Cat DiStasio again! This month, I received a box of goodies from Melissa Mullins of Vegan Fling. One of the reasons I love participating is I get to discover other vegan blogs. Melissa’s blog is just gorgeous and filled with tempting recipes like this Chocolate Chia Pudding.

I let out a squeal of delight when I saw the bag of cookies,since these Uncle Eddie’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are the best thing ever. I’ve been wanting to try the Hugo Naturals soaps and this bar of vanilla and sweet orange smells like heaven. I ate the Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups before I even took this pic because, duh, they’re that good. The Pro Bar, Bobo’s Oat Bar and bag of pecans will be perfect to take along on my next hike.

Want to join in next month? Details and sign up are on the registration page . Register by Feb. 5, 2013 to participate in the February swap. You do not need to be a blogger to be part of the swap. Maybe I’ll be the one sending goodies to You next month 🙂

My Weekend in Photos- Ukuleles and Kombucha

To celebrate the start of the weekend, I made these Sweet Potato Tot-chos, inspired by Wholly Vegan. Quick n’dirty style, I used store-bought tots, baked until nice and crispy, then slathered in Food For Lovers Vegan Queso. Topped with more hot sauce, olives, green onions and cilantro. Then,The Vegan Virtuoso challenged me to make the tot-chos using Ube Gnocchi. The girl is a freakin’ evil genius. Check out my Instagram feed to see how insane they turned out.

Went to the Secret Sound Showcase at the Doris Duke on Friday to see ukulele virtuoso Taimane Gardner perform. I first saw Taimane’s mesmerizing artistry on YouTube and if you think ukuleles are only for Hawaiian music, this girl will set you straight. She shreds everything from Led Zepplin to the Mission Impossible theme, with softer touches in songs from Phantom of the Opera or her original “Moon”.

Got my autographed CD like a true fan girl and Taimane was gracious enough to take a photo with me and my friend, Animal Rights Activist, Anjie Pham.

Spent Saturday morning whale watching/counting for NOAA and spotted about 3 adults + 1 calf off Diamond Head.

Quick stop at Blue Tree Cafe Hawaii for a Lilikoi+Aloe Kombucha ( very refreshing!) and an Orange Pistachio Coconut vegan bar. I’ll do a review after I try the raw vegan brunch they do on Sundays.

Time to start editing the next video recipe! My new cap is providing the inspiration 😉

Mahalo for stopping by and have a delicious week my friends!

My Week in Photos::Beautiful Island Life

Happy Aloha Friday friends! It’s been a busy week but I made some time to enjoy the beautiful weather and visit with family.

My cousin Tim and his girlfriend came to town for a visit. We enjoyed lunch at the new Monkeypod Kitchen in Ko’olina. The selection for vegans is limited but if you order the Vegan Portugese Bean Soup (labeled as such on the menu) and the Kale Macadamia Nut Salad, you won’t be disappointed. The soup is highly spiced and very flavorful, served with pita bread for dipping up the last bits of broth. To be honest, I wasn’t particularly excited about the kale salad when I ordered it, because I was hoping they had vegan pizza. But this fresh salad, loaded with sweet Maui onions, golden raisins and the mac nuts tossed in a sesame miso dressing really is something special. Ono mouth explosion!

Then it was back to the drawing board, literally, as I started story boarding for my next video recipe. I’ve been staring at a 10 pound bag of organic carrots and tried to come up with easy ways to use them.

Most of the time, I play a round with a few ideas before I film the video.

 I filmed my carrot video and realized the footage came out like complete crap, so with a very sad face,I scrapped it all and took a drive to the beach.

I got a kale,spinach and pineapple shave ice from the House of Pure Aloha and a big hug from Uncle Clay,the owner. Suddenly, everything was right in the world again.

So then the carrot video evolved into this Walnut Salad amuse bouche…hey, I still used ONE carrot 😉

Rooted some more pineapple crowns to put out in the garden this weekend.

Gratuitous pug photo: Winston doing his Yoda impersonation- “Do or do not, there is no try”

So let’s have a toast to the weekend with this super yummy lychee sake I recently discovered. I lurrrve lychee and this sake goes down so smooth. Be careful! It will catch up with you. Kanpai!

Follow me on Instagram or Pheed for more photos

Relogy Skin Care::Giveaway!

So I forgot my own rule about not treating the holiday season as one giant Eat Fest stretching from Nov.15th-ish to Jan 1st. And I ate sugar. Lots of it. The massive sugary gluten binge coupled with wearing a baseball cap on my sweaty hikes caused a very unattractive acne breakout on my huge fivehead, right before all the family paparazzi events*flash* I needed a quick fix.

Before using Relogy

Sure, I could have tried a myriad of natural acne remedies but I am impatient with my vanity. Relogy (rel-oh-jee: vegan/cruelty-free) had sent me the Dual Action Treatment Foam, Natural Skin Balancing Lotion with Coconut Milk, Targeted Spot Treatment and I was willing to give it a try.

 

Relogy did exactly what I hoped, cleared my complexion and visibly reduced bumps and redness without irritating my skin. My acne was not cystic, so your results may vary.

I applied 1 pump of the cleanser to moist skin and massaged it into problem areas, targeting my forehead (avoiding the eye area) left it on my skin on for 10 minutes, then rinsed with warm water. The cleanser did a fine job of removing the mineral powder make-up I wear but I used a separate eye make-up remover. Then, I gave my face a quick pat dry and applied the balancing lotion, which moisturized without being greasy or heavy. Last, I used the spot treatment on the most problematic bumps.

Day 5 (overcast day so my skin looks darker in this pic)

Day 7 of Relogy treatments

Pros:

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty Free
  • Cleared acne in 5-7 days
  • Reduced redness
  • Improved skin texture
  • Convenient pump and rollerball packaging
  • Mild fragrance (no added fragrance)

Cons:

  • Parabens/SLS

I asked the company if the parabens and Sodium Laurel Sulfate were necessary for the product to perform and this is the response I received:

 Dear Cobi,

 We are so happy to hear that you are reviewing the Relogy® Acne Treatment, and that it has been working for you!

 Thank you, too, for your inquiry about the Relogy ingredients, and it is a great question that you ask! As thoughtful product developers, these are the kinds of questions that we ask all of the time.

 Relogy has a 100% vegan commitment, first and foremost, but also strives to incorporate as many natural ingredients as possible into our products, at least 95%. The challenge really comes with the over-the-counter drug products (our foam acne treatment and the spot treatment), which have to be held to strict FDA regulations and anti-microbial standards, so the microbes do not form in the products through-out the expiration date, and Parabens can be used as an optimal way of preserving the product for safe use.  Microbial content is a huge challenge for natural and organic products, and especially with acne bacteria at play–we want to be very careful. And, we want to provide truly effective products for our customers. You may notice that many 100% natural products are not also OTC drugs. As far as SLS, we believe this to be safe to reduce oil on skin. All of our research has led us to conclude that the negative information about SLS to be unverified. As always, however, we encourage consumers to look at each ingredient to evaluate what they think is best for themselves and their family!

 As a company, we’ve made it our mission to challenge ourselves to go further than any other acne product to bridge the gap towards a healthier, gentler way to combat acne, while maintaining results; we want our customers to succeed!

 We love naturals because we believe strongly in their effectiveness, when chosen wisely, and for the proper effect. After all, it is truly the naturals in Relogy that provide the anti-inflammatory and soothing effects, and are the big secret to why it’s great for acne-prone skin. (Shhhh, the other acne companies haven’t realized this yet!)

 Meanwhile, at Relogy, we are continually tracking advancements in natural preservatives and other ingredients for the highest degree of effectiveness and safety. There are some interesting things coming in the future, and we can’t wait until they are truly proven and available for us to incorporate into Relogy.

 Please let us know your thoughts! We truly value your comments, ideas and suggestions–as a young company, we are all about your feedback.

 Kindest Regards,

 The Customer Service Team at Relogy

 

There is no substitute for being mindful of what we eat, how we treat our bodies and not causing breakouts in the first place. When I am doing my best, powering down green smoothies for breakfast and drinking plenty of water, my skin is clear and bright. But, if I need to clear up a breakout quickly, I would use Relogy again.

Relogy is providing one set of the products for one of my readers to try. This giveaway will run for two weeks and the details to enter are:

1) Please follow Relogy on Facebook or Twitter and Subscribe to my YouTube channel

2) Leave a comment on this blog post with your favorite acne fighting tips, remedies or products

3) I will choose a winner on Jan. 28, 2013 and contact them via email. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

Good Luck!

Guest Post::Vegan Sticky Buns

 
I invited my friend Chanelle Gontarz to share some baking secrets in the Veggietorial’s Kitchen. Y’ all know that I do not bake, but she tricked me into making these fabulous sticky buns and they turned out awesome.  Follow her blog The Vegan VirtuosoInstagram or Pheed for some wickedly delicious food and funnies.

To protect the world from devastation. To unite all peoples within our nation. To denounce the evils of truth and lo– Wait. What? Oh. MY bio? Hmm… Well, I’m a stay-at-home mom to a rambunctious kid, the wife of a Navy submariner, and a Navy veteran. A pajama-loving, coffee-drinking gal from small-town KS loving life in VA, cooking, baking, learning and growing with my son, and being as supportive as I can for my husband. Our family is owned by two rescued cats who kindly allow us to live in their house and feed them. I was inspired to go plant-based by two people: Rhiannon, who proved to me that the health concerns of a plant-based diet are nothing to worry about. She managed a vegan diet while pregnant with identical twin girls (!!). And Chris, whose work with PETA is amazing, as is his willingness to eat anything vegan put in front of him — an absolute joy to a compulsive baker.

Most of my childhood memories feature some sort of food. That’s very likely true of a lot of people, but I think especially true of those who spent a lot of time around their extended family. Every family gathering involved massive amounts of food — rolls, potatoes, noodles, several kinds of meat, lots of sides, candies, and an assortment of pies — but it’s never that kind of food that I miss. The foods I find myself going to when I want something comforting to ease homesickness or pick up my mood are the ones I rummaged from my grandmother’s fridge. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Garden veggie soup. Chicken and noodles. And, of course, those special foods you had to have perfect timing (or an Aunt in close proximity to Gramma’s house and a quick dial-finger) for, like her famous Sticky Buns. Warm, sweet, gooey, fluffy, and drenched from top to bottom in her secret caramel sauce. It was a favorite game of us cousins to see how many fresh buns we could eat before she kicked us outside to play again.

While I’ve found close vegan analogs to my favorite comfort foods (usually in the freezer section, aisle 12), the Sticky Bun Fix just hadn’t been met. Could I make a vegan Sticky Bun worthy of the name? Could I approximate that famous caramel sauce? Will Lassie get to the farm house in time??? Challenge = Accepted.

A quick search on The Google brought up a great starter recipe on VegWeb here. So, with a few tweaks and lots of shenanigans, THIS happened:

Total awesomeness.

I know, I know — what if you have no baking skyllz? Grab your trusty thermometer and come with me down the path of delicious enlightenment. The way is long, but the journey is easy and the reward is bliss.

Gather your ingredients first. You have lots of time with this recipe because the yeast will be proofing, or the dough will be rising or the rolls will be baking… Relax. Establish a flow. I’ll walk you through it. Don’t be frightened.

It’s really key to have your milk, sugar, and water mixture at the correct temperature. Too high and you kill the yeast. Too low, and it doesn’t activate. If you don’t have an instant digital thermometer, use the “baby-bottle” test. The liquid should be hot but not uncomfortably so.
When your yeast has properly activated, you’ll know — it’ll have a nice head of foam on it, just like a great beer. It can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes to get like this. This is when you’ll add your softened margarine.
The yeast mixture and the 2 ¼C of flour will form a very soft, sticky dough.

You’ll add ½C flour and start kneading. Dig in with the heel of your hand to squash the dough, then gently fold in half. Scrape up and bits that stick to the bowl as you go. Don’t rip the dough — this breaks the gluten proteins that are forming and will make your rolls tough and chewy. You want to strrrrreeeeetttch the dough, not break it.

When you’re done kneading, roll the dough into a cute little ball. Spray your bowl with oil or cooking spray and roll the ball around to completely coat it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it somewhere warm and free from drafts to rise for an hour. I usually heat my oven to about 150F before I start prepping, then turn it off and let it cool until I get to this stage. Then, I slip the covered bowl in.
I usually prep my ingredients for the filling while the yeast is foaming and mix it all up during the dough rise. I like coconut oil because of the flavor, but if you want a healthier option, you could also use 2-4T unsweetened applesauce. You’re really just wanting something that will moisten the filling ingredients. I would not recommend water, as the steam from it can make your rolls chewy.

When prepping the “caramel” sauce, coat your spoon in coconut oil or cooking spray to make it easier to get the syrup off the spoon — otherwise, you’ll have a hard time getting that clingy stuff off. It’s lonely and just wants to be held.
Oil a 9”x13” pan before you add half the prepared sauce. Tilt the pan from side to side to cover the bottom in a thin layer. It’s also a good idea to prep your rolling surface before the dough is done rising.

Double dough.

Roll your dough into a rectangle. Don’t worry if you have to fold it over on itself. Do what you need to do. It’ll still taste fantastic. (I promise.)

Sprinkle on your date mixture and any other fillin’s. I like to use unsweetened coconut powder, which I found at an Indian grocery, and ground flaxseeds. Feel free to use whole flaxseeds, chopped nuts, dried fruit, toenail clippings, or whatever else you find appetizing. If you have some Linwood’s left over after making the Not Yo Mama’s Meatloaf, that would be an excellent addition. That meatloaf, by the way, would be an excellent side dish to serve with these Sticky Buns. I kid, I kid! Always eat your dinner BEFORE dessert, kids!

As you roll your dough into its big fat Pimp Daddy cigar, feel free to mutter under your breath, “They see me rollin’, they hatin’.” for motivation. We’re almost done.
Seal the seam just to be safe.
Trim the ends and start slicing. You don’t have to be perfect, but get them all close to the same thickness for even baking. An inch thick is the accepted norm. You’ll get anywhere from 10-13 buns, usually.

Arrange the rolls in the dish so that they have a little bit of space between them. It’s also okay if they’re touching each other a little. You want to give them a little room to rise a tiny bit more, just to regain some of the fluffiness from all the stress you just put them through. When they touch, they’re ready for the oven.
Ta-Da!

Pour your newly-prepped caramel icing sauce over the tops after the rolls have cooled for a few minutes. Let it sit just long enough to soak in some — usually about 5 minutes. I know you’re ready to dish one up and tear into it!

Recipe and photos courtesy of the lovely Chanelle Gontarz

Guest Post::Vegan Sticky Buns
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Guest Post::Chanelle Gontarz,The Vegan Virtuoso Ooey Gooey Vegan Sticky Buns
Author:
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • For the Buns
  • ¾C water
  • 3T soy milk powder {or use ¾C soy milk,omit ¾C water}
  • ¼C sugar
  • ¼C cold filtered water
  • 1 T active dry yeast
  • ¼C non-hyrdrogenated margarine, softened
  • 4oz dried pitted California dates, roughly chopped {or another type of date -- I just happened to have these on hand}
  • ½C firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1T cinnamon
  • ¼C coconut oil, melted
  • 2¼C unbleached AP flour + ½C + more as needed
  • 1-2T coconut powder, unsweetened
  • 1 T flaxseed
  • (1/2C finely chopped nuts, ½T wheat germ or sesame seeds, etc., optional)
  • For the Caramel Sauce
  • ¼C non-dairy milk {I used coconut-almond}
  • 2-3 T brown rice syrup
  • 1 T corn starch
  • 1 tsp + ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 C powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Whisk ¾C water and soy milk powder together. Microwave 1 min. Stir in sugar until dissolved, then add the cold water. Using a kitchen thermometer, wait for this milk mixture to cool to between 110-115F. Stir in the yeast until it has dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Add dates to blender and pulse until they form a thick paste. In a small bowl, combine dates, brown sugar, cinnamon, and coconut oil. Use a fork to break up any really large remaining chunks of dates.
  3. Stir margarine into the yeast mixture.
  4. In a large bowl, add 2¼C flour. Stir in yeast mixture just until a soft dough forms. Scrape any flour off the sides of the bowl to incorporate it. Mix in ½C flour. Knead the bread in the bowl, about 5-10 minutes, until the bread is smooth and elastic.
  5. Oil the bowl and turn the dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place somewhere warm to rise for about an hour or until roughly doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Turn dough out onto a floured or nonstick surface and roll into a rectangle. I put my dough on a medium Silpat (roughly 11x16) and simply use it as a guide, rolling the dough to the edges of it.
  8. Crumble the date mixture evenly onto the dough, breaking up any large chunks of sugar. Sprinkle with coconut powder and ground flaxseeds (and any other fillings). Beginning with a short (11") side, roll the dough. Place seam-side down on the silpat and set aside.
  9. In a small bowl, whisk together ¼C nd-milk, brown rice syrup, and corn starch. Microwave 30 sec. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla. Microwave 30 sec.
  10. Pour about half the syrup mixture into the bottom of a greased 9"x13" pan.
  11. Trim up the ends of your roll by cutting the "rough" edges. Cut cinnamon rolls nearly an inch thick. Place in prepared pan, with just a little space between them. If they touch a little, that's okay, too. Cover and let rise 10-20 minutes, until rolls are noticeably larger and they are touching.
  12. Bake at 350F for 15-25 minutes.
  13. To the remaining syrup mixture, add ½tsp vanilla. Whisk in 1-2C powdered sugar, starting with 1C and adding in ¼C-1/2C increments until desired consistency is reached.
  14. Allow rolls to cool at least 5 minutes before pouring icing over them, then let sit 3-5min more.
  15. NOTES:
  16. *It’s important to use glass or “non-reactive” bowls when mixing/proofing yeast. If you use a metal bowl, Science happens and the yeast won’t activate properly.
  17. *No soy milk powder? No worries! Use your favorite soy or coconut milk.
  18. *If you decide to use "instant" or "rapid rise" yeast, 1 packet (1/4oz ; 2 1⁄4tsp) will suffice. The rising times will be shorter and you won't need to allow them to rise before going in the oven (unless you want to)
  19. *If you want your cinnamon rolls to have a harder exterior, space them apart in the baking pan so they don't touch. This makes them less likely to absorb the icing, though, so will be less "sticky" and with a chewier texture.
  20. *If you like super-gooey rolls, don't bake them as long, obviously.
  21. -Guest Post Recipe by The Vegan Virtuoso-

Mandarin Mimosa Mocktail

Cheers to the weekend friends! I’m back on track with my good habits instead of allowing my gluttonous holiday self to make poor decisions.

In addition to eating a variety of healthy plant-based foods, drinking lots of water and getting enough rest, I am sticking with the magnesium regimen recommended by my chiropractor after my car accident in November. Magnesium has been a life saver for me in helping reduce pain and spasms in my neck and back, as well as giving me relief from the headaches. I notice that when I do not remember to take magnesium, I have bouts of restless leg syndrome and my quality of sleep is interrupted. You can read more about the health benefits of magnesium here.

I had purchased a bottle of magnesium from a local natural foods store but soon after received a sample of the Natural Vitality Natural Calm magnesium and I like it so much better!Unlike the first magnesium supplement I tried, the Natural Calm does not need to be mixed with hot water. I add 1 rounded teaspoon to an 8 oz glass of fresh-squeezed, chilled mandarin juice to make this refreshing drink. Natural Calm has a pleasant raspberry lemon flavor sweetened with organic stevia, so you can mix it with water if you’re not in the mood for  a frou frou juice drink.

This post is not intended as medical advice and you should consult your trusted doctor before taking any supplements. But, if you are suffering from symptoms of stress,anxiety,fatigue or musculoskeletal conditions you may want to find out if you’re magnesium deficient.