Thursday, June 12, 2014

happy birthday!

Today my blog turns one year old! This is my 52nd post, which means I have posted one post for every week of the year! Its a good start to something great, I can feel it. And to celebrate, I baked my first vegan cake! Yes, my first! I am not really a big dessert person, unless its a square of dark chocolate, but this birthday called for a cake :)

Here is the recipe I used to make this vegan carrot cake.

As this was my first attempt at a vegan cake, it didn't turn out quite right, it all ended up tasting delicious but the cake was a little too moist, and the frosting a little too oily, so I am just going to post the link to the recipe I used until I have perfected it.

I am determined now, to make the most perfect vegan carrot cake with creamy coconut frosting, so be expecting a revised and personalized recipe coming at some point! But in the mean time, give this one a try, maybe you'll have better luck than I did, and don't buy creamed coconut for the frosting, apparently its not the same thing as coconut cream.

And happy birthday to Almost Vegan! One year and counting!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

hearty homemade protein bars

My husband is one of those guys with an insane metabolism and just about 0% body fat. He has to try and eat as many calories as he can just to keep from wasting away. Lucky. Well, if you have a husband like I do, or you have a metabolism like he does, give these protein bars a try! They are super healthy, hardly processed, and full of good for you protein calories. I don't usually indulge in protein bars, seeing that I have to eat as few calories as possible just to maintain my weight (a women's life story), but Tom loves them. And I love the fact that instead of eating some processed bar full of corn syrup and unpronounceable ingredients, he is eating something that I made!

I buy Garden of Life's Raw Protein powder, but any will do. This time we have chocolate, but I have made these bars with vanilla flavored before, both are good!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • 8 cups rolled oats
  • 8 scoops protein powder
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil 
  • 2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl comine oats and protein powder. In another bowl, or measuring cup, combine maple, pb, coconut oil, and 1/2 cup of the water. Add liquid mixture to oats and combine, adding the rest of the water gradually until desired consistency is reached. You want the mixture to stick together when you press it, but not be sticky at all.

I added 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup sunflower seeds at this point. You could add any kind of dried fruit or seeds, or chocolate chips if you wanted! Mix to combine. Press mixture into a lined or greased 9x13 baking pan. Make sure you press it in firmly; it will be less likely to crumble when you cut it later. 

Bake for 30 minutes, or until it starts to brown on top. Remove from oven and let stand for at least 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cut into bars, ta-da! 

Friday, June 6, 2014

creamy vegan pumpkin pasta

I guess its always pumpkin season in Hawaii. There isn't very much of a climate change year round! So, even though its summer, and pumpkins are usually associated with cool fall weather, I was fortunate enough to be given a beautiful summer pumpkin, straight from the garden. Packed with vitamin A and potassium, pumpkins are never out of season. If you don't know how to cook a pumpkin, check out this post I did last "fall".  That was a huge pumpkin though! This one was much smaller and only took about 40-45 min to bake. If you are not going to make your own pumpkin puree, but use a can, I would suggest using less than 1 1/2 cups. The pumpkin puree in a can is usually more concentrated, and sweeter!

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 cups green beans, trimmed and chopped in half
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. fettucine (whole wheat or gluten free, I used brown rice pasta) 
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley and basil)

Once you have your pumpkin baked, cooled, and pureed...its time to start dinner. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Put pasta water on to boil now too. Add chopped onions and garlic to hot oil and fry at medium heat until translucent and soft. Add green beans and toss for about 5-7 minutes. I don't like mushy green beans, so I hardly cook them, so they stay crunchy!

Add pasta to boiling water and cook as directed. Add pumpkin, nutritional yeast, rice milk, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to frying pan. Stir until well combined and heated all the way through. Drain pasta, return to pot, and toss with pumpkin sauce and fresh herbs. Yum!