Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegan Pumpkin Gingersnaps

When I think of gingersnaps, I think of those hard, crunchy cookies that come in an orange and black box, and I was never a fan.  However, when I saw these cookies on MamaPea's blog, I really wanted to make them.  They are delicious, and nothing like the gingersnaps I remember.  They are soft, chewy, and very simple to make with only a few ingredients.  I followed the recipe exactly, and the result was fantastic!  I will definitely be making these again soon.  Here is the recipe.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Vegan Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

Hi!  Off to kind of a late start to VeganMoFo, but better late than never, right?  I moved to Seattle almost three months ago, started school, started working, all while still adjusting to life here, so it's been kind of chaotic.  I hadn't baked anything in SO long, so last week I purchased all of the necceseties (flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin, vanilla, etc.) so I could be ready to bake when the moment struck and I had some free time.

I decided to make these Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins from One Frugal Foodie.  I didn't have the gluten-free baking mix on hand and there were a few other modifications I made to the recipe.  They turned out really well!  The only problem I had was that the muffin liners didn't stick at all to the muffin & they were falling off.  I'm not sure if that was because of the coconut oil or just the liners I used, but next time I won't bother using them at all!

-I used 1 1/12 cups cornmeal & 1/2 cup WW pastry flour
-I used coconut oil for the oil
-I added 1/2 tsp each of baking powder & baking soda
-Omitted the xanthan gum
-Subbed almost 1/3 cup agave and finished it off with maple syrup for the sugar

I felt MUCH better after baking something, I truly felt whole again :)

Well, I just tried to upload a photo of my muffins and they have literally disappeared from my computer.  How come they show up in iPhoto but are no where to be found when I try to choose the file from iPhoto to upload?!?  Bummer, but instead I will leave you with a picture of one of the most beautiful places I have been so far in Seattle, Lake Serene.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vegan Treats Bakery Review

I have discovered the best vegan dessert I have ever tasted- a chocolate peanut butter mousse bomb from the one and only Vegan Treats. I have been wanting to visit for months ever since I heard it was in Bethlehem, PA, which is about a 45 minute drive from where I live. I had heard only very good things about Vegan Treats and know they have won numerous awards for their baked treats. Well, I can certainly see what all the fuss is about. I am now sad that I am moving across the country and Vegan Treats will no longer be within driving distance.

My sister and I had a really hard time deciding what to get. Everything is displayed beautifully in the cases, but unfortunately nothing is labeled. We asked what a few items were and the girl behind the counter was very nice and answered our questions. I decided on the bomb.. which was indeed "the BOMB"-there is chocolate cake on the bottom, a huge mound of creamy peanut butter mousse on top, and it is all enclosed in delicious chocolate with a peanut butter drizzle. Krista got the triple chocolate cheesecake which had a chocolate crust, chocolate cheesecake, and chunks of a chocolate brownie of some sort on top. It's hard to describe just how good they both were. We sat there in pure bliss and enjoyed every delicious mouthful.

We decided to place an order for some cupcakes for my going away & my sister's birthday party which was Friday night. They were a hit! Everyone loved them and said they looked and tasted amazing. I was so excited to tell people they were vegan!! Jess and I went together to pick up the cupcakes because I really wanted her to get to see the bakery. We each got a treat- I got the bomb again, and she got a "ho-ho" which was chocolate cake with whipped cream inside.

Some of the cupcake flavors- peanut butter cup, peanut butter mousse, chocolate mousse, red velvet, cookies & cream, and vanilla. We also got lemon cream but they were in another box. I got to try the peanut butter cup (my favorite) and red velvet. Again, both were fabulous!

Vegan Treats has a huge variety of treats- cupcakes, brownies, cookies, cakes, and cinnamon rolls the size of your head. Check out their menu. They also have soft serve ice cream! On my first visit, the girl working behind the counter was gracious enough to give us a sample of the flavor of the day, which was mango & vanilla twist. It was delicious!

Vegan Treats is well worth taking a trip to Bethlehem for. If you don't live in the area, their treats are also available in some restaurants & cafes in New York, Philadelphia, and DC.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sweet Freedom Bakery Review

Sad to say but it is one of Jenna's last days on the east coast. The west coast was calling her name and she will now be delivering foodtastic vegan news from the west coast! But we couldn't just say goodbye without going to downtown Philly and enjoying some sweet treats; and we did just that!

Down on South Street between Broad and 15th sits a quaint little building just waiting to invite you in. The Sweet Freedom Bakery is a wonderful place for all of us who are not only looking for a vegan treat, but also for those of us who have food allergies, even for those who love sweet treats with a very healthy twist. They bake everything there without the following items: gluten, wheat, eggs, casein, dairy, corn, peanuts, GMO's and refined sugars.

The baked goods list at Sweet Freedom is impressive, it's everything from cupcakes to muffins to zucchini loaves to donuts! The four of us decided to try 4 different things to share so we could all experience what freedom tasted like, and it was fantastic; an orange vanilla cupcake top, a chocolate chip cookie pie with chocolate frosting, a chocolate brownie and a blueberry oatmeal bar. If you can't tell from some of the photos, we were excited to dig in!

We give Sweet Freedom Bakery 5 thumbs up for giving us more of what we need!!

Sweet Freedom Bakery
1424 South Street (between Broad and 15th)
Philadelphia, PA 1914

Telephone: 215-545-1899

Hours of Operation
Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 7pm
Sunday: 10am - 4pm
Monday: Closed


Monday, July 26, 2010

The Cinnamon Snail Review

On Friday, I had to make a trip to North Jersey to pick something up at my friend's old apartment. About a 15 minute drive from there is Hoboken, NJ- home of not only the Cake Boss' Carlos' Bake Shop but more importantly, the best vegan organic lunch truck ever- The Cinnamon Snail. I conviced my sister to come along so she could experience the truck that I have told her about numerous times, and she was not dissapointed. I have to credit this amazing discovery to my friend Laura. I was going to visit her a few months ago and she is always up for trying out new vegan food with me even though she is not vegan. She googled vegan food in her area, and The Cinnamon Snail popped up. We decided to give it a try, not sure what to expect, and were blown away. We have been back many times since.

The Cinnamon Snail offers organic, vegan cuisine that is cooked to order right inside the truck. The owner, Adam, is super nice, down-to-earth, funny, and you can tell he truely enjoys what he does. I wanted to ask him about his culinary background, but he had other customers waiting and I didn't want to take up his time. (I also wanted to try to convice him to move his truck to Seattle). The Snail does not serve your typical "lunch truck" fare. The food is nothing less than what you would get in a gourmet restaurant. Actually, it's better. Adam also strives to use local ingredients and products with as little environmental impact as possible. The containers and plates are made out of recycled cardboard and the utensils are vegetable based. Really, it can't get much better. Definitely check out the website to read about the transformation of the truck, see the menu, and some pictures of the amazing food. There are often changes or a few additions to the menu each week depending on what's in season.

We decided to get two items for breakfast and share them. This is the breakfast burrito with scrambled tofu, refried beans, pico de gallo, and avocado ($7). It was very tasty and a bit spicy- the cool & creamy avocado definitely made the burrito. Our only minor issue with this was that the onion in the pico de gallo was a little overpowering. I wish I had gotten a photo of the inside, but I was too busy eating!

And here is the whole reason for the trip, the blue corn pancakes with pignoli butter and Vermont maple syrup. ($8) Seriously, these are the best pancakes I have ever eaten, period. We were dreaming about these the whole ride home.

The window of the truck displays a large selection of various vegan pastries. There is everything from donuts to "pop hearts" (a play on Pop-Tarts) to spinach pie. I have tried the spinach pie previously and it was delicious. My sister and I decided to each get a treat and save them for later. I sadly forgot to take photos, but we got a delicious mini peanut butter chocolate cheesecake and a mocha chocolate donut. Both were fantastic, and tasted better than the non-vegan versions that I remember.

The Snail is parked in Hoboken, NJ on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and is at a farmer's market in Red Bank on Sundays. You can follow the snail on Twitter and Facebook to find out its exact location, because it sometimes changes depending on where he can find a parking spot. You can also call ahead so your food is ready to pick up when you get there.

If I haven't already made it clear, I HIGHLY recommend The Cinnamon Snail if you are ever in the Hoboken area. Even if you're not, a trip to Hoboken for the pancakes alone would be totally worth it!

I wonder...

Yesterday Jess and I did an "I Wonder" segment at work (Whole Foods) on being vegan! So if you are here because you got the awesomely informative paper Jess made up, welcome :) It is posted below. An "I Wonder" segment is basically a short information session about various topics and customers and team members are invited to attend if they are WONDERing about said topic. Our goal was to share with people information about the vegan diet; including benefits, protein sources, and subsitutions for meat and those that can be used in baking. We had high hopes that lots of customers would attend, but unfortunately, none could make it. However, five of our lovely team members did join us. They seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say and overall it went very well! Hopefully they will be able to pass along their new-found knowledge to their customers in the future!

We had some samples of vegan chocolate cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies out which peaked some customer's interest as they were walking by. This was to be expected, because customers flock to free food/samples like bees on honey. However, as soon as we invited them to join our little session, they turned up their nose as soon as they heard it was about veganism. That is one thing that truely irks me. As soon as a person hears something is vegan, a look of disgust immediately emerges on their face and they assume that it's going to taste bad. I cannot tell you how many times this has happened! NEWFLASH: "vegan" does not equal gross! One of my goals is to prove skeptics and naysayers tasty vegan bite at a time!

Sprig & Vine Restaurant Review

It was a hot, sticky day when Jenna and I decided to take the hike to New Hope, Pennsylvania and eat our favorite vegan restaurant, Sprig & Vine. The setting is fantastic with smaller tables, not too cold of an air conditioned building, and service that is always smiling. The menus is constantly changing yet maintains several favorites with a twist. It is always 100% vegan and consists of 4 categories: small plate with a daily gourmet soup, salads, entrees and side orders.

I ordered off of the 'small plate' list and had the shallot top pancakes (roasted maitake mushrooms, sesame-tomato jam and soy syrup). I also ordered a side dish of coconut flavored mashed sweet potatoes. The shallot top pancakes were exquisite, they had a crisp crunch with a sweet yet salty taste that lingered on the pallet and it it definitely did not constitute as a "small plate". The mashed sweet potatoes tasted just as the description presented them. It was a perfect meal.

Jenna ordered from the entrees and had the cajun-crusted green tomatoes which consisted of soft local polenta, collards with black-eyed peas, charred onions, smoked cherry tomatoes and spicy remoulade. Her plate was absolutely amazing! It had a great flavor exerting from every corner of the plate. The green tomatoes had a spicy panko-like crust that cooled one's tongue when it was dipped in the remoulade. The collard greens and black eyed peas actually took on the flavor of the remoulade, which allowed you to enjoy their nutritional benefits without feeling they were going to be in the way.

One would think after all that food we would be full, but what can I say, we are suckers for the dessert menu. And since we are returning veterans we knew exactly what we wanted to sink our teeth into: the vegan chocolate mousse pie paired with coconut ice cream and a a light vanilla bean sauce. Need I say more...

We love Sprig & Vine and it deserves 5 thumbs up! We hope all of our readers will visit this exquisite cafe and enjoy the wonders of a vegan menu born to make stomachs happy.

Sprig & Vine
450 Union Square Drive, New Hope PA 18938
Dinner Tues-Thurs 5pm-9pm | Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm
Lunch Wed-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm

Day One of a Vegan Diet

Hi! We are anytime vegan, a blog about the ups and downs of being a vegan in a world full of bad food. We are two women on a journey to eat better, feel better and live better. Jessica started exactly 4 days ago on the vegan diet thanks to constant irritation of the bowels and a severe case of lactose-intolerance. Jenna began her path one year ago and has improved her overall health which led Jessica on the same path. We are hoping that through this blog, we will be able to continue our pursuit of veganism and encourage others to do the same.

Here are some things to look forward to:

word of the week
restaurant reviews
vegan friendly vendors
festival & farmers markets
special events and interviews

Please join us in our pursuit to eat better, feel better and live better.

Peace and Love,

Jenna & Jessica