Friday Faves (November 2): Vegan MoFo Style

Hey guys! So I haven’t done a Friday Faves post in awhile, but I really wanted to recap some of the best things I ate last month in honor of Vegan MoFo. Seeing as I’m basically 99 percent vegan, all of my food is vegan, but I had a few exciting meals and recipes from October that I want to share with you guys again. So here goes!

 

Best Vegan Meal in a Restaurant: Raw Enchiladas with “Rawfried Beans”, Tasty Harmony

 

When my dad came up for Homecoming/Family Weekend at the beginning of the month, I had to drag him to Tasty Harmony, after practically drooling over their entire menu. Before you think I’m weird, this was the first time I’d ever gone to an entirely vegetarian (and mostly vegan) restaurant so I was excited. I ordered my first ever raw entree in a restaurant too, and I loved it. The “beans” were exactly like refried beans, only they were made with nuts and seeds. And the carrot cake my dad and I shared was to die for. I want to know how they made it, so I can make it at home. The best part was, my dad loved his meal too and wants to go back…hopefully when my family visits me next weekend!

Best New Snack: Apple Nachos

 

A lot of you have mentioned that you think these are super creative. I’m not sure where I got the idea from, but I love them too! They’re easily customizable and are packed with fiber, healthy fat (if you top with nut butter) and protein (if you top with protein frosting).

Best Weeknight Dinner: Socca Pizza

 

I’m so mad I only just discovered socca…because I could have been devouring it for years! It’s just so good, and deceptively easy to make. My favorite toppings for it are either traditional pizza toppings: nooch, red sauce, kale and kalamata olives; and I also like vegan creamy garlic dressing and kale for a take on spinach white pizza.

Best Money-Saving Grocery Trip

 

Yes, this was all bought at Whole Foods on one trip, and yes, it cost me under $30. How is that for being vegan on a budget? Especially for a picky, health-conscious vegan like me, it can be tricky to stay under budget (especially since I’m a sucker for impulse buys, especially seasonal items) but I’ve been learning a lot by doing my budgeting posts and I’m getting better at it. This just goes to show that you can buy “splurge” specialty items, organic products and produce without emptying your wallet.

Best Recipe: Pumpkin Macaroons

 

I didn’t get to post as many recipes as I would have liked to during Vegan MoFo, but I did get a few good ones in there. These macaroons were surprisingly easy to make and really good for a little snack. Unfortunately, I had to toss most of them because I made them around the same time as the fridge debacle (aka my fridge broke and I got a new one) so they didn’t end up staying fresh. But I want to experiment more with macaroons and recipes in general. I’ve been in a food rut lately and I need some new, delicious things to make!

Best Buy: So Delicious mint chocolate coconut milk

 

I can’t say enough good stuff about this product–even if you do dairy, please try this! It’s a lot better for you than the traditional holiday-type drinks and if you love the mint chocolate flavor combo, you will love this.

Did you celebrate Vegan MoFo, even for just one meal? What’s your go-to weeknight dinner?

Vegan MoFo: Sweet & Salty Squash Seeds

You know something’s good when you can’t stop eating it straight out of the oven!

If you’ve ever roasted your own pumpkin seeds before, you know how addictingly delicious they are. They’re almost impossible to screw up (seriously, even burned ones taste good) and they’re incredibly customizable. And they’re a fall tradition in my family. Every year around Halloween, we’d carve giant pumpkins and set them outside with candles inside. But before we could carve them, we had to gut them first. Kinda gross, but the reward was the tons of seeds we’d find inside. We’d set them out on plates overnight to dry and then the next day my mom would roast them in a secret blend of spices that tasted amazing together.

It’s not quite Halloween yet, but I was still in the mood for some roasted seeds…without all the pumpkin guts. When I bought a carnival squash the other day to roast, I realized it came with a bunch of seeds. Um, light bulb moment–I could try roasting squash seeds! Squash seeds are generally smaller than pumpkin seeds, but that means that they take less time to roast and are easier to remove from the squash. But they taste just as good, if not better, than pumpkin seeds. I decided to go with a sweet and salty take for this batch, and of course they’re vegan as all my recipes are. But they’re also much healthier than typical roasted seed recipes that call for lots of oil or butter and sugar. A little goes a long way in this recipe, but the end product is worth eating straight off the pan.

Told you I ate some of them straight off the pan!

Sweet & Salty Squash Seeds (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free)

seeds from 1 squash (or multiple squashes, if you want to make more)

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tsp coconut oil

sprinkle sea salt, to taste

In a bowl, mix the seeds, maple  syrup and coconut oil until seeds are sticky and coated. Sprinkle sea salt on top and taste to make sure it has the perfect balance of sweet and salty. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet in an oven preheated to 400 degrees. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, making sure the sugar doesn’t burn too much (full disclosure: mine did, but they still taste great). Remove from oven and let cool (or just eat right away!) and store in a plastic bag. Makes about 1/4 to 1/3 cup seeds.

This is another small batch recipe, just because squashes don’t produce many seeds but you can always use seeds from more squashes and just up the amount of maple syrup and coconut oil you use. These seeds have just enough natural sugar and salt to taste amazing but aren’t loaded down with unhealthy ingredients. Plus squash seeds, like pumpkin seeds, are full of healthy plant-based fats, so eat up!

Do you like to roast pumpkin seeds? What is your favorite flavor combo (like sweet & salty, etc.)?

Thanks for all your amazing comments on my last post! I think it’s cool that you think it’s cool that I’m on TV 😀

Vegan MoFo: Pumpkin Macaroons

I first heard of Vegan MoFo last year, when I was new to veganism and still eating Greek yogurt on occasion. I thought it was a cool concept but I didn’t think much of it until this year. Now I would say I’m 99% vegan (that 1% accounts for occasional trips for gelato, or accidentally eating something at a restaurant that turns out to not be vegan) and eating a more well-rounded plant-based diet. A year ago I was eating a lot more vegan ‘convenience’ food like Morningstar veggie sausages every morning and I couldn’t live without my daily bowl of overnight oats. Now I skip all those faux meats (tempeh and tofu don’t count!) and I rarely have oats anymore. I’m eating cleaner than ever and experimenting all the time with my meals. Basically I’m having more fun with food and loving it!

One of the new foods I’ve been embracing is coconut. I used to be afraid of it, but now I know how healthy and tasty it is. I’ve mostly been using it in oil and flour form and both are amazing but I bought some coconut shreds a couple weeks ago and barely made a dent in the huge bag…until now.

I’ve been wanting to try Hail Merry’s raw macaroons ever since I first spotted them at Whole Foods. But at $7.99 a bag, they’re a definite splurge that have just not been in my budget lately. So why not try to make my own macaroons?

Mine are almost raw, and incorporate everyone’s favorite fall veggie, pumpkin. I mean, why not put it in everything and end up being orange by the end of fall? And I just had to include some chocolate in there because you can’t deny the amazingness of pumpkin + chocolate, but you can always skip that step.

Chocolate dipped.

Pumpkin Macaroons (vegan, gluten-free, grain free)

1/2 cup finely shredded coconut 

2 tbsp almond flour/meal

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

pinch sea salt

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips

In a food processor, blend the first 5 ingredients until they stick together. Roll into small balls (makes about 15) and place on a sheet of foil or a plate. Stick in the freezer for 10 minutes. In a microwave safe bowl or over low heat on the stove, heat the coconut oil and chocolate chips until melted. Dip macaroons into melted chocolate and stick back in the freezer. 

Plain.

What I love about these is that it doesn’t make a huge batch (you can always scale up the ingredients to make more though) and each little macaroon is around 30 calories…yes, even with the chocolate! So you can always have a few for a snack or just pop one after dinner for a mini dessert. They’re grain free and are packed with healthy fats, natural sugar and even a veggie…but they taste like a dessert!

 

This recipe was submitted for Healthy Vegan Friday #15

Have you ever had a macaroon? Do you like the pumpkin + chocolate combo?