Cranberry & Persimmon Baked Oatmeal
Good morning! I’ve got another breakfast recipe for you, & next to my "Pumpkin Cacao Chip Superfood Smoothie," this my new favorite. I’ve been alternating between the two morning treats this week.
As I am trying to be better about bulk cooking on the weekends to give me healthy, homemade, & convenient options to reach for throughout the week, this is the kind of dish that fits that bill. While it is absolutely delicious warm & bubbly & fresh out of the oven, the leftovers it heat up well & keep for a couple of days.
I am also trying to be more mindful with my eating habits, & that means sitting down, distraction free, taking the time to be gracious & enjoy the wholesome food that is before me. So, if I have time on my typically busy weekday mornings, I’ll reheat the oatmeal on the stove with a bit of almond milk & take the time to savor it. But let’s be honest, I am still adapting to this more mindful routine, & there are still those mornings when I throw a bunch of smoothie fixins in the Vitamix & race out the door (but hey, it’s better than grabbing a donut! But I am guilty of that as well, oh Papa G’s how you tempt me with your instagram, just ask the folks at Dark Horse).
My recipe was partly inspired by The Simple Veganista’s "Persimmon & Grape Baked Oatmeal". A few weeks ago, I received some persimmons (my favorite!) from the CSA & promptly recreated her recipe & it was delicious. A few weeks later, more persimmons arrived, along with a bag of fresh cranberries. This delivery happened upon me the day AFTER Thanksgiving, which meant I needed to think creatively about how to utilize the cranberries, rather than make the old standby cranberry sauce for the Thanksgiving table. I got to thinking about the scrumptious baked oatmeal, & wondered if I could substitute the cranberries in place of the grapes. I thought the tartness of the cranberry might be a nice contrast to the sweet persimmon. I asked my pal google for some advice on the matter & came across this recipe (forgive the blog name!), & after affirming that my cranberry persimmon hunch wasn’t wacky, I got to work on a vegan friendly version.
In place of a chicken’s egg, I whipped together a “flax egg,” which gave the oatmeal a more light & custardy texture. I also used coconut sugar in place of brown sugar (which is unrefined, lower glycemic & full of vitamins & minerals). The combination of almond & coconut milks inspired me to toss some unsweetened coconut into the mix, as a little tropical flare is certainly welcome this time of year. I also added a few more warming spices & seeds from a fresh vanilla bean to make it extra special. The result was a fluffy, comforting, & wholesome baked oatmeal surprise. I say surprise because each bite it loaded with exciting flavors & if you truly take the time to savor, mindfully, your tastebuds will be tickled with a burst of sweetness, tartness, or a bit of both!
"Cranberry & Persimmon Baked Oatmeal"
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. cardamom
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 flax egg (1Tbsp. ground flaxseeds, mixed with 3 Tbps. water)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
- 1 fuyu persimmon, diced
- 1 cup fresh cranberries, blanched
To make the “Flax Egg” -
- In a small cup, add flaxseed meal followed by water & whisk together well. Place in the refrigerator to “set up” for 15 minutes to one hour.
To blanch the cranberries -
- Fill a sauce pan with a few cups of water & bring to a boil. Add the cranberries & cook them until they begin to pop & split open. This should only take a few minutes. Drain in a colander, then set aside to cool.
To prepare the oatmeal -
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In medium bowl combine the oatmeal, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, coconut, pecans & salt.
- In a small bowl, combine both milks, sugar, flax egg, vanilla & coconut oil. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture, & mix well. Fold in in persimmon & cranberries, & mix until just combined.
- Place mixture into a lightly greased 9 x 9 baking dish & bake for 40 minutes. Serve warm with a splash of non-dairy milk over top, & a drizzle of pure maple syrup if desired.
The rare opportunity of having a vanilla bean in my hands (they are super cheap at Trader Joe’s right now!) inspired me to make homemade vanilla almond milk, which also light up my life this week. I’ve been using it in my pumpkin smoothie & to pour over this oatmeal, & I’m obsessed. Currently soaking another cup of almonds to make another batch. Recipe will follow soon. I’m telling you, homemade almond milk is the way to go!
The Tree Kisser Shop
Hey compassionistas! One of the most influential & inspirational activists out there is Jessica of The Tree Kisser. If you don’t follower her blog yet, click this link & do it. Truly, she is someone to be admired for her spirit, her heart, & her strong voice for the animals. Just in time for the holidays, she’s opened an online shop where she is selling her brand new t-shirt designs. Check it out her awesome line of shirts & tanks here: http://thetreekisser.bigcartel.com.
Perfect stocking stuffer for the activist on your list!
One of my favorite tops from my new online store through The Tree Kisser! Also available in a tank top <3
Earth Squeeze on Kickstarter
Hey San Diego readers, you must check out this fundraising campaign for Earth Squeeze, our fine city’s newest pop-up juice stand that uses only locally grown, farm-fresh produce & sells at farmers markets all over the county!
Here is what founders Mike & Lauren have to say about their awesome concept:
Earth Squeeze is going to be a mobile, “pop-up” juice stand in San Diego. This means that we will travel among farmers markets in San Diego county with our juicers, buying local, farm-fresh produce & juicing it on-site to order. We also plan to juice produce purchased by farmers market customers.
Our goal is not only to teach our customers about the benefits of incorporating live, raw juice into their diets, but also to promote the value of buying local organic produce from San Diego farms. We are strong believers that the future of the food revolution is going to be centered on strong local agriculture, & we hope to strengthen this movement with our efforts.
We have found the commercial kitchen we will be using to store & prep some of our produce. This has allowed us to move forward with applying for all of the necessary licenses & permits we need to vend at farmers markets. We have already launched full speed ahead into our social media advertising campaign, & are quickly developing our name in the community. Our recipes are ready to go, but before we begin…
We need your help! We are turning to Kickstarter for help raising funds to pay for a centrifugal juicer, a whisper generator, & other equipment necessary to sell at a farmers market. We are grateful & appreciative of any & all pledge amounts.
I cannot wait to visit them at the markets & get my fresh local juice on. So what do you say? Why not watch their video, & back their project if you can? They have some sweet rewards for backers. Click here to show support for Earth Squeeze!
New Super Cute Vaute Sweatshirt & Leanne on Tour!
Ah man, I love Vaute Couture, but my budget certainly doesn’t. Plus, living in sunny San Diego (it was 80 degrees today), I cannot really justify spending a few months savings on a coat I’ll wear maybe once a year. BUT Vaute’s super darling sweatshirts, on the other hand, are definitely more budget friendly & justifiable in this mild climate. Their most popular styles are being restocked in time for Christmas, & they’ve just announced this super cute new limited edition design pictured above is available for pre-order now. Who wants to be my Secret Santa? (Pssst…size medium please!!!) These sweatshirts will be embroidered in the NYC garment district on an Alternative Apparel sweatshirt made of “Eco Fleece” — a blend of fibers including organic cotton & recycled poly. I love it! I want it! So good!
And, for those of you lucky enough to be in the following West Coast cities…Leanne, founder of Vaute, is heading to LA, SF, & Portland this week with MFA, VegNews, & Herbivore & she would love to see you!! You can make an appointment with Leanne here (spots will fill up fast, special tour prices!) to see all the new stuff, nab some holiday gifts, & catch up one on one. If any of you get the opportunity to do this…do this! I will be so jealous!
Don’t you just love inspiring, ethical & fashionable companies who are changing the world for the animals? I certainly do! Here, here Vaute Couture!
Your Guide to Vegan Baking: Egg Substitutions
When it comes to vegan baking, it can be hard to “crack the code.” After countless failed attempts, it can be tempting to throw in the kitchen towel & take a road trip up to BabyCakes. But, fear not, vegan bakers-to-be, just in time for the holiday baking season, a comprehensive "Guide to Uncracking Egg Substitutes" from Fork & Beans is here to save the day & your sanity! Happy holiday cookie baking!
A Prayer for Humans on Behalf of the Animals
Happy Thanksgiving, kind friends. There is so much to be grateful for. Remember this prayer today & please take a moment to honor the animals.
"My hope is that we can navigate through this world with the grace & integrity of those who most need our protection.
May we have the sense of humor & liveliness of the goats.
May we have the maternal instincts & protective nature of the hens & the sassiness of the roosters.
May we have the gentleness & strength of the cattle & the wisdom, humility, and serenity of the donkeys.
May we appreciate the need for community as do the sheep & choose our companions as carefully as do the rabbits.
May we have the faithfulness & commitment to family of the geese, the adaptability and affability of the ducks.
May we have the intelligence, loyalty, & affection of the pigs & the inquisitiveness, sensitivity, & playfulness of the turkeys.
My hope is that we learn from the animals what we need to become better people.”
~For the animals, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
May we all live as gracefully & compassionately as the wise & inspirational, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. May you all have a peaceful & blessed Thanksgiving day.
Vegan Tasting Menu at Alchemy
'Twas the night before Thanksgiving…
I’ve always been a fan of Alchemy in the sleepy, but trendy South Park neighborhood of San Diego. I love their approach to cultural faire, small shareable dishes, & their “Dirty Pickle” martini is my favorite cocktail in town (extra dirty, extra pickle!). So when their PR team contacted me & invited me & a guest to attend their “Thanksgiving Before Thanksgiving Vegan Tasting Menu,” how could I resist? Oh but, Thanksgiving eve! Shouldn’t I be to be prepping for my own Thanksgiving feast? Perhaps, yes, but it sure is fun to be catered to once & a while! So I called up my pal, Nichole & we headed out for a pre-no-turkey-day treat. And what a treat it was!
To start, we were served a cup of "Tomato-Fennel Bisque with Almond Milk, Fennel Fronds, & Roasted Garlic Oil." Wow…this was so flavorful! Tomato & fennel is such delicious combination, with the subtle anise flavor of fennel bringing a bit of sophistication to the classic tomato soup. The garlic oil drizzle, made the soup rich & savory. Oh, if only there were some crusty bread to dip in. But, then again, I’m so happy the bread basket doesn’t exist in this restaurant. No thank you, carb-overload! I’ll have enough of that come Thanksgiving.
Our second course was an "Artichoke Salad with Pickled Purple Artichokes, Watermelon Radish, Jonagold Apples, Oro Blanco Espuma, & Pedro Ximenez Reduction.” The presentation was beautiful, & the dish itself had so much potential. But… I love pickled anything, so when I read the words “pickled” I was excited, but upon tasting the dish, it didn’t seem as though the artichokes were “pickled” at all. So I was slightly underwhelmed.I absolutely love watermelon radish, & the apples were crisp & tart yet we agreed that the components of the dish didn’t seem “cohesive.” If I were to make this myself, I would serve it on a bed of peppery arugula, with a bit of crumbled cashew “goat cheese.”
The third course was a gem. "Manicotti with House Made Vegan Ricotta, Broccoli Rabe, Crudite, Cilantro Pesto, & Pepitas.” Me oh my. That ricotta! I would like the recipe please. It was so creamy, with a slight sweetness to it. At first thought it was tofu based, but now I am thinking perhaps it was cashew based? I’d sure love to know, it was delightful & I can imagine it in all sorts of culinary creations. Along with that delightful ricotta, the filling consisted of broccoli rabe, which added a bitter bite, & zucchini cappelini, which imparted a sweetness & unique texture. The manicotti was topped with a zesty, herbaceous cilantro pesto & baby garden carrots. So cute. I enjoyed the wine pairing with this dish which was a glass of Nicole Chanrion - Cote de Brouilly.Oh, how I do love a French wine. It was dry & spicy, with a dark plum & blackberry finish. An interesting choice to pair with a pesto dish, as I usually prefer a crisp white wine, but I enjoyed it. I like wine, so I am easy to please.
The final course was the always anticipated dessert course. "Guava Shaved Ice with Brûléed Forelle Pears & Crystalized Hibiscus." The shaved ice was light & refreshing, with a hint of rosemary that I really enjoyed. I’d expected the pears to be a bit more “brûléed.” We were also treated to the cocktail pairing which was a "Hibiscus Port Wine Cooler" that was sweet & lovely. It was a beautiful pairing, but left me wanting more. It would’ve acted a a perfect palette cleanser before a warm, rich dessert. It was a Thanksgiving dinner after all — bring out the pumpkin cheesecake, or some coconut cinnamon ice cream with baked apples! Perhaps they thought we’d prefer to save our calories for the big day? I find this happens a lot when I go to vegan dinners & non-vegan restaurants & it’s frustrating, especially when I know how incredible vegan desserts can be. I wish these chefs would be a bit more adventurous in the dessert department. I was just listening to the latest Compassionate Cook podcast & CPG mentioned the same thing. In her case, she sent a copy of her book Joy of Vegan Baking to help inspire the chef. Bold! If only I had a cookbook to send!
All in all, it was a very enjoyable meal, & I appreciate their enthusiasm & effort. Not many restaurants in San Diego cater to vegans, let alone prepare an entire menu for them one night a month. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to have an elegant vegan meal. The restaurant is nestled on a quite corner in one of the cities best neighborhoods, so enjoy a vegan meal, some delicious wine & a stroll around the streets lined with darling little craftsman bungalows. Sounds like a perfect date night to me.
Also, a very kind thank you to Alchemy for hosting me & my friend. We are so grateful for your invitation & hospitality. I will certainly be back for another tasting.
Pumpkin Cacao Chip Superfood Smoothie
Pretty much obsessed with this “Pumpkin Cacao Chip Superfood Smoothie” from Mind Body Green. I’ve been on a punkin’ smoothie kick for the past few weeks & this recipe has worked its way into the running for top contender! It’s full of superfoods, autumn spices, plant-based protein, & a whole lotta love. Today I added a dash of cardamom, cloves, & nutmeg to make it extra warming, & knob of fresh ginger for a bit of zip & zest! Yum!
"Pumpkin Cacoa Chip Superfood Smoothie" (adapted from Mind Body Green)
- 2/3 cup of coconut water
- 1/3 cup of organic almond milk
- 1/3 cup organic pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
- 1/2 of a frozen banana
- 1 Tbsp almond butter
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds (made into a gel with 2 Tbsp. of water & let sit for 10 minutes before adding to the smoothie)
- 1/2 scoop of Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder
- A sprinkle of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, & nutmeg (to taste)
- 1 small coin of fresh ginger, peeled
- Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt — brings out sweetness and flavors
- 1 soaked date
- Raw cacao nibs — stir in/top as much as desired, sprinkle extra cinnamon on top.
- Put everything except the cacao nips into the blender, blend well.
- Add ice as needed to thicken. Taste and adjust for sweetness.
- Sprinkle a little more cinnamon on the top & top with cacao nips to decorate.
Serve & enjoy immediately!
This is powering me through my food prep day! Two vegan cheeses are aging as I type. Happy Thanksgiving eve!
(at vegenista’s kitchen via instagram)
Plant Powered Thanksgiving with Katie’s Healing Kitchen
Before I get to the lovely food & photos above, I need to share a bit of a back story. This past summer a good friend, invited me to a vegan cooking class at a wine bar in her neighborhood. Of course I accepted the invitation - vegan food & wine? Totally up my alley! Who knew that class would be the first of many & the start of some great new friendships?!
The classes are taught by plant-based chef, Katie Gluck, who is a recent graduate of The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts (my dream cooking school) where she was trained in the art of vegan, macrobiotic, ayurvedic & raw cuisine. Upon graduating, Katie returned to her home town of San Diego & launched Katie’s Healing Kitchen. Katie teaches monthly cooking classes at The Wine Vault & Casa de Luz, caters small scale events, & hosts private cooking classes & kids’ cooking parties. In addition, she kindly volunteers her time with the International Rescue Committee’s “Youth Food Justice,” an after school gardening program at local high schools, where she teaches healthy cooking classes to students using the organic produce they grow. Katie is passionate about harnessing the power of food to heal disease, & her it’s her lifelong goal to inspire others to make the connection between the food they eat & its effect on their body, the environment & the world. I am so inspired by Katie & the wonderful work she is doing. Her recipes are always vegan, gluten-free, & refined sugar-free. She has a gentle spirit & a genuine enthusiasm for spreading the good word about living a healthy & healing lifestyle. Her classes are fun & informative & her food is delicious. I have made many of her recipes over & over in my own kitchen. If you are San Diego based, I highly recommend visiting Katie’s site & signing up for her newsletter so you can get up to date info about her class & event schedule. And FYI, space is limited at Katie’s classes & they fill up fast!
So back to the food you see above! Last weekend’s theme was "Plant Powered Thanksgiving," the faire for this festive fall menu was scrumptious: Roasted Carrot Soup, Squash Mac & Cheese, Wild Rice & Lentil Stuffed Squash topped with Mushroom Bacon, Maple Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Simple Steamed Kale, & Apple Crisp with a dollop of Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream & a surprise Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle. And yes, it was certainly as delicious as it looks! Katie’s recipes are healthy, yet hearty, thoughtfully crafted, easy to follow & absolutely delectable. I enjoyed each & every one of these dishes, but the star of the evening for me was definitely the stuffed squash, which will be making an appearance at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. And if you are still in search of a main event for your turkey-free celebration, look no further, ‘cause you’re in luck! Katie graciously allowed me to share the recipe!
Wild Rice & Lentil Stuffed Squash from Katie’s Healing Kitchen
Yield: 8 Servings
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 1 cup dried green lentils
- Sea salt or tamari to taste
- 4 winter squash, delicata, acorn or kabocha
- avocado or olive oil
- Squash - Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash down the middle, & scoop out the seeds. Place squash cut-side down on the baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until squash is tender. Remove from oven.
- Onion - warm saute pan (with a fitted lid) over low heat, cover the bottom of the pan with oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion & cover with the lid. Stir every 5 minutes until onion is caramelized (about 40 minutes)
- Rice - In a medium pot, over medium heat, cover the bottom of the pan with oil. Once oil is hot, add the garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add rice & vegetable stock to pan & bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer & cover, about 40 minutes or until rice is done. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, cook lentils according to package directions.
- Combine caramelized onion, lentils, & rice together. Season with salt or tamari. Stuff squash with lentil rice mixture & bake at 400 for 10 minutes
What a perfect centerpiece on a compassionate Thanksgiving plate! Katie served the dish topped with simple steamed kale, a sprinkle of mushroom “bacon,” & a side of maple dijon roasted brussels sprouts. Yum! When I recreate this dish, I’ll likely add some chewy dried cranberries to the rice & lentil mixture.
Now before I set you free to go whip up this lovely dish for yourself, I want to introduce you to the talented photographer behind the gorgeous photos you see above. Amy Angelo, of Amy Angelo Photography, is a San Diego based photographer who specializes in babies & children, but also takes beautiful wedding, event, family & food photos. Amy is responsible for all of the photography on Katie’s website, helping to bring her dishes alive on film. Amy is also vegan, a cat lover, an activist, & makes a delicious raw pumpkin pie! If you are looking for a photographer who is as compassionate as she is talented, then Amy is your gal!
I am super grateful to have these talented ladies as friends & am so excited to share the wonderful work they do to spread wellness, beauty, & compassion.
If you are San Diego based, why not join us for Katie’s next class, "Make Your Own Christmas Presents." We’ll sip on minty hot cocoa & nibble on Christmas cookies while we learn how to make vegan friendly giftables, (think vanilla coconut body scrub, hot chocolate gift bags, baking mix). Also includes: adorable packaging and take-home recipes. Visit katieshealingkitchen.com/classes/ for more info. Hope to see you there!
(Recipe courtesy of Katie’s Healing Kitchen. Photos courtesy of Amy Angelo Photography).
Good Morning! Can we talk vegan cheese for a minute?
Look at this ridiculous creation from Rawmazing! While I already have my Thanksgiving cheese plate all lined up, I am immediately flagging this recipe to make for my holiday party! Click the link for the recipe. You know you want to…Pumpkin Seed Cranberry “Cheese” Log with Thyme!!!