Monthly Archives: December 2012

HAPPY HERBIVORE ABROAD – WINNER!!!

HHA_31DaysofGiveaways_badge

The winner of the Happy Herbivore Abroad giveaway is…

ammauceri

If you are “ammauceri,” please e-mail your mailing address to gretchen (at) veggiegrettie (dot) com and I will have the publisher send the book to you ASAP.

Happy New Year and a big thank you to all who entered.

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Filed under Books, Contests, Giveaways, Vegan, Vegetarian

Top 10 Recipes of 2012

2012 has been a great year.  I truly appreciate your readership, comments, questions, and recipe inspiration…keep it coming!

In the spirit of Top 10 Lists, I thought I would do a recap of Veggie Grettie’s 10 most popular recipes of 2012 (all vegan and gluten free of course).

Happy New Year!

10.  THAI PIZZA

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9.  ROASTED SPICED CHICKPEA SNACK

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8.  CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CUPS

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7.  BAKED TOSTADA SHELLS / BOWLS

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6.  VEGAN NACHO CHEEZE – AKA VEGAN QUESO

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5.  AWARD WINNING VEGAN GFREE CREPES

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4.  MACARONI AND CHEEZE

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3.  OAT FREE PEANUT BUTTER GRANOLA BARS

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2.  MOLTEN LAVA CAKE

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And the top pick was…….

1.  DESSERT HUMMUS – PB CHOC CHIP

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Xmas Card 2012 POST

As I type this Christmas music is playing in the background, there is apple cake in the oven, and my family is putting together a holiday lego set while feasting on gluten-free pancakes.

I hope your next few days are filled with family and friends, rest, and gratitude.

Happy Holidays from my family to yours.

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Filed under Holidays

HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER CUPS

homemade vegan peanut butter cups collage

Now that we are into the holiday season I do make a few more treats than normal (though I do feel the need to admit that I generally do not eat many of them).

People tend to think that making candy is complicated…it doesn’t have to be.  Last year the kids and I make homemade peanut butter cups.  These peanut butter cups were made with only three ingredients:

  1. Freshly ground peanut butter
  2. Chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life chips)
  3. Coconut oil

Melt the bag of chocolate chips over a double boiler along with 1-2 tsp. of oil.

Once melted, pour a small layer into mini cupcake liners and place it in the fridge for approximately 10 minutes.  Place the melted chocolate over the double boiler to ensure that it remains melted.

Top the hardened chocolate with some peanut butter and try to keep it in the center allowing a rim of chocolate to remain around it (this will allow the next layer of chocolate to completely cover the peanut butter).

Cover the peanut butter with another layer of chocolate and place in the refrigerator to harden.

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This year I used the same method to make chocolate covered pretzels (gluten-free) and peanuts.  My daughter and I broke small pretzel sticks in half and mixed them with the melted chocolate.  We then placed spoonfuls of the chocolate covered pretzels on waxed paper to cool and harden…little chocolate bird’s nests.  We had some left over at the end with a little too much chocolate, so we mixed in some peanuts and made spoonfuls of that.  They have been a total hit with my family!

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Filed under Candy / Fudge, Dessert, Gluten Free, Holidays, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

TEACHER / COACH GIFTS

I am in the thick of preparing gifts for the coaches and teachers in my children’s lives and I thought I would share with you what we are gifting food-wise this year.

My daughter wanted to gift her teachers with some body butters, and my son will be giving some of his middle school teachers gift certificates, but we will be giving the coaches in our lives the “healthier” caramel popcorn that I made one month as my Secret Recipe Club assignment.

The original version was loaded with butter and sugar, so I rolled-up my sleeves and did my best to remake the recipe. My family loves the recipe I came-up with and while it is definitely a treat, it is much healthier than the traditional version.

I just air popped the popcorn and will be making it into caramel popcorn tomorrow.  This recipe is SO EASY.  I have made caramel popcorn before where you have to stir and stir and stir and with this recipe you shake it all up in a big brown paper bag…it couldn’t be more simple.

Click HERE for the recipe or HERE for the original post with detailed pictures.

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Filed under Dessert, Gifts, Gluten Free, Holiday, Holidays, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY – Lindsay Nixon, The Happy Herbivore

It has been a loooooooooooooong time since I hosted a giveaway…I was waiting for something really worthy of a giveaway and I know you will find this “giveaway worthy!”  For those of you unfamiliar, Lindsay Nixon is a low-fat vegan recipe developing goddess.  Her recipes are simple, healthy, and full of flavor.

With two cookbooks already under her belt (The Happy Herbivore Cookbook & Everyday Happy Herbivore), Lindsay just released her third, Happy Herbivore Abroad -

“In the last 10 years, Happy Herbivore chef Lindsay S. Nixon has lived in eight states, visited 46, spent a year as an expat on a Caribbean island, and traveled to more than 35 places abroad. As a celebration of Nixon’s jet-setter lifestyle, Happy Herbivore Abroad combines traditional comfort foods from home with international inspiration and stories of her adventures.

A little of everything—basics, comfort food, international cuisine, and travelogue—Happy Herbivore Abroad provides your palate with more than 135 of Nixon’s crowd-pleasing vegan recipes low in fat, high on health, and made with everyday ingredients. True to the Happy Herbivore creed, these vegan dishes are easy to make, easy on your wallet, and completely plant-based.”

I jumped at the chance to interview Lindsay and eagerly accepted her offer to host a giveaway of her latest cookbook, Happy Herbivore Abroad (Giveaway details follow the interview).

GRETCHEN – In my experience, people always like to know what led someone to a plant-based lifestyle.  When did you become plant-based and why?

LINDSAY NIXON - I was a vegetarian for most of my life, but lapsed back to meat-eating in my late teens due to family pressure and peer pressure. A serious health scare in my early 20’s brought me back to a vegetarian diet and about a year later I adopted a totally plant-based (vegan) diet. I was motivated mainly for health reasons, but I also care about the environment and am moved by the plight of farm animals.

G – I really enjoyed reading your post, “I’m (Still) Not a Vegan Anymore!”  People react so strongly to the word “vegan” and like you, I feel funny using that word to label myself.  Did you expect the original post to get as much attention as it did?

LN –  I had no idea it would garner so much attention or that I’d still be talking about it a year later. I remember sitting at my desk, staring at the computer screen in total shock. My inbox was pinging every 3 minutes.

 I am sure each of your books has a very special place in your heart…Do you have a favorite?

LN – They’re all special and unique in their own way. All of them had their challenges, and miracles. I love them equally. I imagine asking an author to pick their favorite book would be like asking a parent to pick their favorite child.

What do you typically eat in the span of a day and are you a snacker?

LN – I used to be a snacker, until I read Mindless Eating. That book really changed my eating habits. My daily food intake is varied — since my schedule is always changing.

What is your favorite plant-based indulgence?

LN - Vegan marshmallows.

When are you happiest?

LN - When I’ve turned in my latest manuscript — joking! (kind of). I try to find moments of pure happiness each day… whether it’s snowboarding in the winter and taking it in, or riding in my convertible down one of LA’s palm-tree lined streets, to petting my pugs on the couch, to traveling around the world and marveling at the gifts before me, to snuggling with my husband…

In your wildest dreams, what would your life look like in 5 years?

LN – I hope to be retired in 5 years, living in Thailand or Indonesia. I’ll make it happen.

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*** GIVEAWAY * GIVEAWAY ***

To enter the giveaway complete any or all of the following -

You will gain one entry for each task completed:

  1. Subscribe to Veggie Grettie’s E-mail Subscription (upper right corner of this page and/or the homepage below the Header photo)
  2. “Like” Veggie Grettie on Facebook
  3. Send an e-mail out to your friends telling them about the giveaway and cc me on it gretchen (at) veggiegrettie (dot) com
  4. Sign-up for Linday’s Newsletter (I am a subscriber!) by clicking HERE and entering your e-mail address in the bottom right corner of the page.
  5. LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST FOR EACH TASK COMPLETED (That’s up to 4 comments…4 entries)!!!

The giveaway will run through midnight 12/30

*** OPEN TO RESIDENTS OF THE US & CANADA ONLY ***

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Lunch With Kristin Lajeunesse of Will Travel For VEGAN Food

Will Travel For Vegan Food cropped

In September of 2011 I posted about Kristin Lajeunesse and her quest to go on a year-long roadtrip traveling across the US eating at all of the vegan restaurants.  Kristin’s dream became a reality and she set off on her “Will Travel For Vegan Food” roadtrip aprroximately 14 months ago with plans to continue through May of next year.

While the roadtrip was still in the planning stages I contacted Kristin and offered to take her to lunch when she arrived in my neck of the woods.  Last week Kristin got in touch and we made lunch plans.

Wheel of Life Sign IMG_1352

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of meeting her for lunch at The Wheel of Life in Irvine.  I had never even heard of the restaurant and was happy to give it a try.  At lunch I had such a great time chatting her up about the roadtrip, veganism, our families, and life in general.  Kristin is a sweetheart.  I enjoyed her company so much that I contacted my parents and forwarded their information to Kristin so she can look them up when she makes her way to Santa Cruz.  Please consider reaching out to Kristin if you are interested in joining her for a meal when she arrives in your town (click HERE to contact her).

We ordered a noddle dish (they made it GFree for me, but it ended-up being a bit salty), spring rolls (which typically include faux meat…they were very accommodating in that they made 1/2 of them without faux meat for me), and a spicy curry which was REALLY tasty.  I was happy to learn that we were able to choose between white and brown rice (we opted for brown).  Overall the food was good.  Just typing about the curry is making me want more of it!

Wheel of Life Food Collage

For those of you interested in learning more about Kristin, there are plans in the works for me to interview her on my other site, Chic Vegan.

If you would like to learn more about where Kristin has eaten and where she plans on eating, click HERE.

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Filed under Events, Vegan, Vegetarian

THE WORLD’S BEST BANANA BREAD – Gluten Free Version

Worlds Best Gluten Free Banana Bread Recipe (2)

One of the blogs I follow is My Plant Based Family.  I have enjoyed watching Holly’s blog develop and appreciate the fact that after suffering from health issues she and her husband decided to transition their family to a plant-based diet.  She has been open and honest about the diet challenges that she has faced with her older children (her younger children adapted easier to the lifestyle change), which I am sure is something others are going through as they try to make the transition in their own homes.

Worlds Best Gluten Free Banana Bread Recipe (1)

My birthday is at the beginning of November and after celebrating with a nice meal (we enjoyed Mexican food), we came back to our house and enjoyed a gluten-free version of Holly’s World’s Best Banana Bread.  Reading through the ingredients in her original recipe, I felt confident that I could make a GF version and it turned out beautifully.

This has become a staple in our household.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup applesauce (I used my crock-pot applesauce)
1/2 cup turbinado sugar or raw sugar (I used 2 Tbs SweetLeaf SugarLeaf)
3 extra ripe bananas, mashed
1-2 Tbsp nut-based milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup King Arthur’s Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup GFree pancake mix
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional)
1 tsp xanthan gum

* VARIATION - add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1-2 Tbs more nut-based milk

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add 1 cup applesauce and SugarLeaf. Mix with wooden spoon.
  3. Add the bananas, plant milk and vanilla then mix well.
  4. Add baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, and flour to a separate bowl and whisk (If using cocoa powder, add it here).
  5. Ad the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well to incorporate.
  6. Add optional nuts and/or chocolate chips.
  7. Pour into a sprayed bundt pan.
  8. Cook for approx. 22-25 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  9. Allow the pan to cool for 5 minutes
  10. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack to continue cooling
  11. Once cooled, leave on a covered cake plate overnight.

The cake tastes the best if you allow it to cool completely and then sit under a cake dome overnight (I know it is REALLY hard to wait), but Holly was SO right…If you leave it overnight the texture is infinitely better.

Thanks for the birthday cake inspiration Holly!

Worlds Best Gluten Free Banana Bread Recipe (3)

For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.

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Filed under Cake, Dessert, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

HOLIDAY CANDLE DISPLAY

Christmas Candle Collage

Last month I did a post about the Fall candle display I created for my kitchen’s center island.  This past week I spent the evening changing it up to reflect the holidays which are now in full swing.

With a few simple changes and a glue gun at my disposal, this project quickly came together.  I picked-up some candles at IKEA,  a 40 pound bag of salt (intended for a water softener) at Home Depot, and 2 containers of cinnamon sticks from Costco (I already had the ribbon in my gift-wrapping stash).

I also filled 4 mason jars with salt, glued a halo of ribbon around each jar, and topped each with a red tea lights before placing them on my windowsill.

I am having so much fun decorating and getting into the holiday spirit.

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Filed under DIY, Holidays, Home