Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Fresh organic strawberries do make a splendid ice cream flavor.
Must admit that during childhood, when it came to Neapolitan ice cream- familiar vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry classic- I always skimped out on the strawberry rectangle. It wasn't to be mean or super duper picky. Or maybe I was being super duper picky. That irritating artificial sugar stuff on top of the nasty bits of over sweetened "real" strawberry never appealed to me. I do, however, have a massive addiction to strawberries and can often be seen wielding a container filled with sliced, luscious red, juicy, finger-suckling fruit that is better than candy.  
Now it wasn't my intention to miss the special third Sunday in July- National Ice Cream Day in National Ice Cream Month. Sincerest apologies. I make up for it by crafting a simple strawberry ice cream recipe that combines four real ingredients inside a blender. One could use conventional strawberries, but organic strawberries (currently 2/$5 at Kroger) taste sweeter, much more divine. It's quite noticeable. 
Please don't make fun of me for being a late bloomer. I actually have been spooning past ice creams with traditional silverware and have now gotten into this century, this time period- ice cream scoops are the way to go! Makes ice cream easier to dish out and presentation looks super pretty.
All hail the ice cream scoop and the strawberry. Yum!

Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream Ingredients and Preparation

8-10 strawberries
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon sugar 
2 teaspoon vanilla

Puree all ingredients into blender or food processor.
Pour into a steel bowl, cover, and place inside freezer for 6-8 hours. (I left mine in overnight).
Serve when its at desired softened consistency. 

And why not add extra genuine strawberry goodness to a bowl of this delightful summer treat!
Scrumptious and a cool tongue pleaser on the hottest days.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Soft Baked Garlic Pita Flatbread & Fried Falafel Dip

Yummy kind of hors d'oeuvres.
On Sunday, I scoured Kroger (they've been rewarding me massive summer savings coupons!) hoping to find Earth Balance's new line of vegan boxed mac n cheeses. Nope. Didn't find any. Earthfare or Health Foods Unlimited might be best bet around these parts. They are, however, selling Silk's Black Cherry Yogurt again- which had been defunct for a while now. For 10/$10 I had to get a couple having missed beloved flavor. So shopping trip wasn't a big loss. Also stocked up on chickpeas, having decided to make some kind of falafel.
Well, I thought it would be company day ( younger brother was supposed to pop by) and planning ahead, found a lovely recipe for pita bread from veganrecipesofindia. Whilst preparing garlicky fluffed goodness, turning that pita into delicious flatbread, falafel made sense for perfect accompaniment. Falafel dip in actuality. This unique dip has all the yummy flavorful components of an amazing Mediterranean style mini patty and spreads on nice and thick atop warm pita flatbread. Friends and family would love seeing someone carry this out and squeal with surprise that the centerpiece isn't filled with what looks like guacamole, but tastes completely different-- plus served hot.
And since no one came by to try unique specialty, there was plenty to snack on and a lot of leftovers.....

Soft Baked Pita Flatbread & Fried Falafel Dip Ingredients and Preparation

1 1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon active yeast
pinch of sugar
3 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoon olive oil

Mix 1/2 cup warm water with sugar and sprinkle yeast atop. Let foam for 10-15 minutes.
Add yeast mixture to additional water, flour, garlic, salt, and black pepper.
Massage olive oil onto dough.
Place into an oiled bowl and top with a paper towel for an hour.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Once dough is doubled, take out of the bowl and deflate on a new flour'ed working surface.
Make about six rounded balls, flour, and flatten into circles.
Lay them on a greased (or parchment papered) baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they're nicely browned. 

15 oz. chickpeas, rinsed
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil in a skillet.
Add spices and parsley to pureed chickpeas.
Stirring action.
Completion. With blender help.
In skillet, toss mixture and scramble, cooking for 8-10 minutes.
Place fried falafel dip into a bowl and plate with soft pita bread for a killer party platter.
A little crushed red pepper to keep it interesting.
Centered in goodness.
Spread with a spoon or dunk. Choices are limited.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Let The Lips Have It: My Favorite Vegan Balms

Cruelty free beauty.
I have tried various lip balms over the years. Some were good. Some were awful. Now two years, seven months later, as a vegan, brands like Chapstick and Carol's Daughter are no longer it for me. I have cherished not only making Homemade Vegan Lip Glosses, but finding companies that create wonderful products designed to keep lips soft and hydrated without cruel additives. Few are below $5 and pricier ones are well worth the extra bucks.
Just remember that nothing beats a good animal free (no beeswax!) moisturizer for the pout.
Here are a few of my top picks.

Vanilla Chai Lip Balm is a delicious fix without all the Starbucks calories and sugar count. Plus at $4.99, it lasts longer than a one sitting cup.
Soothing Touch 70% Organic Vanilla Chai Lip Balm, $4.99. Smells so amazing that friends can smell it centimeters away and mistake it for perfume. Keeps lips soft with light sheen. Find this caffeine free fix at most health food stores or online at Soothing Touch.
Pacifica is lip heaven for those who desire balm and a light color.
Pacifica Coconut Kiss Creamy Lip Butter in Lava, $8.99. For those who love a red lip that is muted. I love wearing this to major events like art receptions. The more one applies the bolder it can be. Find these at most Whole Foods Stores or online at Pacifica Naturals. Also highly recommend Pacifica's Enlightened Gloss Nourishing Mineral Lip Shine in Ravish (sheer pomegranate with subtle gold), $12.00- a personal favorite- not a balm, but it's a necessity!
Thumbs up to Out Of Africa!
Out Of Africa Tropical Vanilla Lip Balm With SPF 15, $4.99. This is a must for summer! Has a yummy scent, keeps lips uber hydrated, AND offers protection from the sun. Be wary of the little pieces of balm that cling to lips. Find at most drug stores and online at Out Of Africa.

Checking out the Limeade.
Crazy Rumors in Limeade, $3.49. Another sweet treat addiction. Perfect flavor for wickedly hot summer. This was in my freebie bag from the Philadelphia Vegfest and I must say it's a nice one. Glides onto lips slick without goopiness. However, this lip licking flavor doesn't last long. Find it at specialty health food stores and online at Crazy Rumors.
Honorable mention:
Booda Butter, $3.99. Called "vegan bliss for your lips" for a reason. Keeps kissably moist lips saturated. A light sheen. Not too glossy. Find it at most health food stores and online at Booda Butter.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Creamy Coconut Milk Polenta With Red Roasted Peppers And Baked Lemon-Coriander Tempeh

Polenta is becoming my new fave. Perfect paired with crisp lemon-coriander tempeh.
The week has been quite marvelous here in Dayton. Weather has been perfect. Hung out with old friends. Got to see incredible art- even went to a Christopher Ries lecture at the Dayton Art Institute. It prelude an exclusive preview of "Celebrate Glass" exhibit- which officially opens today. I highly recommend seeing the show. Features Littleton- father of glassblowing, Chihuly (whose piece had a "role" in Frasier heehee!), Ries amongst others. Although glass isn't a medium of mine, I enjoyed learning about diverse mechanical techniques, discovering Cassandra Blackmore (she breaks glass and creates "paintings" out of them) and viewing ways to view such a demanding practice.
Not to say that running a blog is hard work, but I looked through my drafts (there's only about nine unfinished posts) and came across an old delicious recipe that should have been posted months ago. I despise being behind. We're talking eight months. Eeeeek! That puts procrastination to a whole other level.
I adored the unique components of polenta and tempeh together.
Creamy Coconut Milk Polenta started from a maddening polenta obsession, testing the golden corn meal cylinder block with everything under the sun. One of the best experiments would be adding pretty red roasted peppers/capsicum (Trader Joe's fire roasted jarred version although fresh could be great preference too) and full fat coconut milk. Coriander and lemon provide a wonderful citrus flavored element to crisp exterior tempeh that is perfect accompaniment to polenta.
Everything smells fragrant and inviting. Well suited for two starving individuals, it's the tastes alone that gives memorable satisfaction. I must make again soon!

Creamy Coconut Milk Polenta And Baked Lemon-Coriander Tempeh Ingredients And Preparation

2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 Trader Joe's polenta cylinder, diced
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 red roasted peppers (used Trader Joe's Fire Red Roasted Peppers)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 salt black pepper
pinch of paprika

Trader Joe's 3 Grain Tempeh, cut into four
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon liquid aminos
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet.
Mix olive oil, liquid aminos, coriander, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and black pepper. 
Brush marinade onto each side of tempeh.

Seasoned tempeh ready to be baked for 30 minutes. Make sure to slip over at 15 minutes.
Browned and crisp.
In a hot oiled skillet, toss in diced polenta.
Stir in coconut milk.
Add roasted red peppers, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Allow thickening.
Fantastic creamy polenta with red roasted peppers (and a lot of extra black peeper!) join lemon-coriander tempeh on a plate together.
Magnificent fulfilling vegan feast!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Pan Fried Cinnamon & Molasses Bananas

A simple warm dessert treat.
I hope everyone's having a splendid holiday weekend. Now the time for all the loud booming sky sparkles should have surpassed, but looks like the neighbors have a lot more firecrackers to pop. Boo.
On a happier note, today is surrealist woman artist Frida Kahlo's 107th birthday and 107 equates to 10/7 my actual birthday. Yay! Yes, I do find the corniest ways to indulge in treats. Still, I love Frida and have forever. She's one of my biggest artistic influences ever. Instead of cake tradition, I celebrated with a less guiltier yum that happens to be much more simpler to prepare- pan fried bananas!
My banana was yellow and had a few brown bruises, but wasn't mushy. Perfect. Cinnamon gives not only that sweet flavor and aromatic fragrance, it browns the banana slices nicely and offers a terrific rewarding crisp. The delicious smelling kitchen hopped with the frying sounds. Soft and chewy on the inside and the aforementioned delicate crunch on the outside. Molasses just gives that extra oomph and drizzles prettily. Cannot wait to make this again!
Slice up more bananas if expecting company- this recipe is meant for one banana loving person.

Pan Fried Cinnamon & Molasses Bananas Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 banana, firm and not yet ripened (but don't let it be green!)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 teaspoon molasses

Slice bananas and douse both sides in a cinnamon shower.
Heat skillet with coconut oil.
Place banana slices in skillet one at a time, making a single, sizzling layer. Fry each side for 1-2 minutes.
Remove and plate.
Drizzle molasses atop.
Ready to eat and no need to share. Unless you're super nice.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My First Co-Wash With Sukin Won't Be The Last!

Hair talk time!
Happy July folks! Did you see? Did you see?! AfroVeganChick is now a dotcom. FINALLY! I've been meaning to do it for a while. It's here now. Afroveganchick.com y'all. :)
Hair. Did you miss my hair? I bet.
At old, former place in Philly, someone took my Sukin Australian Naturals Moisture Restoring Conditioner- a pretty damn good conditioner too. Formulated for dry/damaged hair, it worked well above duty. Seriously. that conditioner was my hubby. When I got my fro cut last year, the hairdresser loved the scent and the results. So with hurt feelings, I went back to Marshalls- mecca of great deals for us cheap vegan beauty product junkies. They didn't have that particular one anymore. Just for normal hair. Argh. My hair is not normal. It gets uber dry quick. However, it featured ingredients like nettles, avocado (my hair loves avocado like body does), jojoba and sesame oils intended for hydration. Plus paying $7.99 again a better bargain than the full price plus shipping for my beloved Moisture Restoring Conditioner, I decided to give it a try alongside with Purifying Shampoo. I also found Zerran Reallisse's 100% Vegan Anti Frizz Shine Masque on clearance for $5- it's such a treat! Needless to say, I've had a great relationship with the three.

Sorry Purifying Shampoo, but you weren't leading in!
Forever, I have stayed true and dedicated to the two shampoo rinses and conditioner ritual. Otherwise called The Long Sunday Shower. I have heard about co-washes, but never wanted to try it. Didn't want to divorce from those two shampoos. Even though, I gotta say, glad I did. That squeaky awkwardness that happens after shampooing did not occur during my first co-wash! Wet strands felt incredibly soft before the masque process started.
I picked out oiled, slightly dampened (with water) fro before this first co-wash.
Soaked hair in water and added conditioner. Rinse. Repeated.
Added hair masque and let it sink in for 5 minutes. Rinse.
Patted wet hair dry with an old t-shirt.
Slabbed on the Hair Food, massaged, gently picked again, and started twisting very soft strands! 

Frontal: Faux Almost Mohawk.
Side A: Overlook the pimple and marvel at velvety hair that fingertips adore.
Middle: Texture is an amazing phenomenon.
Side B: Edges are looking so much better too.
Back: Spiral, Spiral- I adore you!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Gluten Free Garlic Spinach Pancakes With Cauliflower Cream Sauce

Spinach pancakes are met with cauliflower creaminess.
Gluten free pancakes are a wonderful closing to June. It has been a stormy, rainy, very hot Dayton vacation thus far. The only cure is to stay indoors drinking ice cold tea and writing/drawing in front of the A/C.
Fall registration has also arrived. I have to make sure that each class is worthy and won't cause easy distraction. I become sidetracked and procrastinate a lot more than necessary. For two years of MFA, I have to be more focused and organized. Quite thankful that the graduate office included course descriptions and websites to critic faculty's work.
Now back to pancakes.
I do enjoy Maple Groves Pancake/Waffle Mix. It's definitely something to keep on hand and makes cooking pancakes a much more simpler exercise. Spinach and garlic are the key ingredients to a savory breakfast (lunch or dinner) and though the mix has a bit of sweetness, it's not overwhelming to overall flavor. My maddening desire for cauliflower cream returns and covers crisp, browned perfection in a manner that is almost sinful. Not the chocolate kind of sinful. Almost. But not quite.
Makes about 5-6 cakes and must be shared.

Gluten Free Garlic Spinach Pancakes With Cauliflower Cream Sauce Ingredients And Preparation

1 cup Maple Grove Farms Gluten Free Pancake/Waffle Mix
1/4 cup spinach, steamed
1/3 cup almond milk
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cauliflower Cream Sauce

1 cup cauliflower, cooked
1/4 cup almond milk
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Heat skillet with oil or nonstick spray.
Whip together Maple Grove Farms Gluten Free Pancake/Waffle Mix with cooked spinach, almond milk, olive oil, garlic, turmeric, salt, paprika, and black pepper.
Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into hot skillet.
Wait for edges to brown and flip over.
Repeat.

For Cauliflower Cream Sauce, simply place cauliflower, almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt, and white pepper into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning sprinkled obsession.
Thick cauliflower cream inserted between spinach pancakes.

Another closeup.
Nothing says "Welcome Back to Dayton" like the latest Dayton City Paper.
Beautiful interior.