Slow Cooker Cherry Vanilla…Snack

Vegan cherry tart

Ready for a completely last-minute Thanksgiving recipe that will do you right tomorrow? Or any day this winter?

Well, here it is. We don’t really know what this is. We started off calling it a tart, and then we called it oatmeal…ultimately, “snack” just fits the best. What’s so cool about this recipe is that it will not only last you a few days, but it can be used as an early morning breakfast, or an after-dinner treat, depending on how you serve it. It’s low cal, low fat, and packed with nutrients. Specifically, buy “tart” dried cherries, if you can – they are not only a lovely, tasty compliment to the oats and brown sugar, but they are a super fruit! We hear this term a lot, don’t we? In this case, without a doubt, it is true. Tart dried cherries are high in disease fighting antioxidants, beta carotene, and they also carry anti- inflammatory benefits. Nutritionists actually recommend tart cherries to help reduce post- exercise muscle and joint pain! What…? I just like the way they taste. Bonus! (did you know they also help prevent the effects of jet lag, too?) This recipe also contains a lot of natural fiber… so, ya know, thank me tomorrow or whatever!

Here is the recipe I used, with some room for substitutions, based on what you have in your cabinet at the moment.


Eat for the Week: Portland Soup

Portland Soup Put some broth on it!

I went to Portland at the end of August to visit my cousins & their adorable new baby before swinging up to our family reunion outside of Seattle (where even more adorable babies awaited me!).

I LOVE PORTLAND. I love its neighborhood nooks. I love its food trucks. I love how ubiquitous responsible/sustainable/organic food is. I love that Portlandia now makes more sense to me. And I love Portland Soup.

What is Portland Soup, you ask? On our last night in the city, my cousin’s friends prepared a really delicious and hearty soup. It was so good that two days after returning to DC, I made my own batch, with a few twists on the original. And then I made it again, using produce I gathered at a recent farmer’s market haul (so fall fresh!). Every time I make it, it feels hearty but healthy, filling but not overly heavy. It’s a perfect fall soup.

This is also the type of soup that gets better each day you eat it for leftovers. If you make a batch of this on Sunday or Monday, you can eat it at lunch all week.


Vegan Baking: Because Why Not?

vegan baking
Photo credit: massdistraction

I should be clear: I am not a vegan. I have plenty of vegan friends, and I enjoy vegan cuisine on a regular, if not daily basis…but I am not a vegan. Or a vegetarian. I enjoy meats occasionally (there, I said it). A few times a month, I will eat chicken breast without hormones, or have a few slices of uncured turkey bacon with breakfast. I enjoy a good STEAK (and maybe some dairy from time to time). It’s not excessive, but it’s there. Although I have contemplated going entirely vegan one day…today is not that day! So, let me get to my point: vegan baking.

Living in LA, I have friends from all walks of life: cancer survivors, artists of all kinds, yoga teachers, photographers, mothers, fathers, and people of all ages. Film people, music people. People that have many, and I do mean MANY dietary preferences and restrictions. So, as you can imagine, bringing my mother’s triple-layer, dairy-rich dessert bars to a party is not the best choice for everyone (oh, but they are delicious…). So, I started a rule for myself to follow. As someone who enjoys a cookie or a cake for special occasions, I decided that on said special occasions, I would only bake with vegan ingredients. You never know who will be at a party or event you’re attending, and I really hate excluding people from glorious confections.

Vegan baking is actually really easy, too, and I DARE you to miss the eggs, butter and whatever else you may be using in your baked goods. I have found that often times, the frostings, the toppings, the cakey parts – they are even better than what I was doing before I decided to be an all-vegan baker. I love a challenge, and I enjoy knowing that what I am making is…well, maybe not GOOD for me (let’s be honest, if you’re gonna eat the whole damn pan of vegan brownies, you’re still not doing your ass any favors)…but better for me than the buttery, dairy-rich alternatives (butter…drool).

Here are some simple vegan conversions you can use the next time you need to make muffins for your co-workers, cookies for your kids, or cake for your friend’s baby shower. Stay tuned for some fun vegan recipes coming up!