The Vegan Ferret

Vegan Food, Restaurants, Experiences from a Newly Vegan Ferret Lover


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Just Another Hipster Vegan Brunch Post

I know I post about brunch a lot.  I just feel much more passionately about brunch than I do any other meal.  Not only does it usually take place on a Sunday… a day for relaxation, comedy series or documentaries, walks through town, hanging out with my favorite person, doing WHATEVER I want… You know, one of the two days where I can sometimes be just Julie and do whatever Julie wants to do…. BUT ALSO there are endless options for a brunch meal (breakfast, lunch, tapas – you can really do anything).

Because I love brunch so much, I have gotten prettttttttty good at it and I’ve gotten used to enjoying brunch almost every Sunday, so I have to get creative to keep things exciting.  Today’s brunch consists of green grapes, Spanish olives, a light salad, and Crostini (though I was too lazy to make the pieces small so it looks more like toast).

What you need:

Grapes:

  • Grapes (I’m a green grape type of girl, but whatever color makes you happy)

Olives:

  • Olives from Spain that your friend brought you back last time he visited (I get this might not be super realistic to everyone, but try to get a friend who visits Spain often because these olives are delish!)

Salad:

  • Mixed Greens (salad)
  • Carrots
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Scallions
  • Radishes
  • Roasted Garlic Infused Olive Oil
  • Mango Infused White Balsamic Vinegar

We got the oil and vinegar as a present from my lovely parents who purchased it from Seasons Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom in Morristown, NJ.  You can order from their website though (yay!).  They have a ton of innovative flavors to get creative with in your cooking.

Crostini:

  • Sourdough Bread (sliced)
  • Tofutti Cream cheeese
  • Refried beans (add whatever you like to taste, I typically add garlic, cholula hot sauce, garlic powder and onion powder)
  • Jalapeno and Cilanto hummus (so we are super freaking lucky because a Wegman’s (click to see awesome pic justifying my excitement) just opened up 10 minutes from our house.  If you are unfamiliar with Wegman’s, it’s been a South Jersey thing for a long time and is starting to expand.  Basically the best grocery store ever.  I’ve never been so excited about a grocery store as I am about Wegman’s.  Trust me, it’s really that amazing. Anyways, whole point is that it was a Wegman’s brand hummus.  I’m sure there are other amazing choices for hummus to use as well.  You can even make your own!)
  • Diced Green Bell Peppers
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Sliced Serranos

 

And yeah, so the instructions basically consist of spreading each spread on the sourdough bread (cream cheese, beans, hummus), sprinking diced ingredients, and baking at 375 for about 10 minutes.  IT’S THAT EASY.  And so good.  My boyfriend thinks I’m this amazing chef now and it was really so easy.  See pic below for further evidence of the awesomeness of this easy, easy, satisfying, impressive brunch.


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Catskill Animal Sanctuary

A few months ago, I was wrapping up my final semester of classes (crammed them all into the summer semester to graduate by August) and overwhelmed with meetings, events, and campaigns at work.  It was one of those moments where I knew I was going to go completely insane if I didn’t get out of New Jersey soon.  Thus, on a whim, which is my usual way of doing things, I booked a long weekend for two at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s Homestead.  I was so excited to learn that it is a possibility to stay on the sanctuary itself!  I couldn’t imagine a better way to get away from society, reconnect with nature and animals, and reset, while simultaneously supporting a beautiful cause.

The weekend was finally upon us and I had Jeff awake at 5am, more excited than I had been in a very long time.  After kissing the babies goodbye, promising we’d be back soon, and giving them lots of snuggles, we hopped in my little red Mazda and shot up to our first stop, Garden Cafe on the Green, located in the cute, hippie, and perhaps a little (or perhaps a lot) gimmicky town of Woodstock, NY.  This was my first trip to Woodstock, as I’ve spent most of my life in the Southwest, and I immediately fell in love.  Though I could see it getting tiresome with the endless tourists and the not-quite-subtle weed references strewn throughout the town, I was blown away by the amount of vegan options.  On top of two or three fully vegan restaurants, every menu advertised as being vegan-friendly.  This combined with the concerts on the green and drum circles every Sunday, I could see myself moving away from all the NJ hubbub and transitioning to the laid-back lifestyle of Hudson Valley.

Our first meal up the Hudson did not disappoint.  Garden Cafe had a variety of options, all of them vegan.  Jeff went for an Italian Tofu Scramble with mixed vegetables and roasted potatoes and I went with my usual instinct and selected the Huevos Rancheros.  Though everything was excellent, I would have to say the best part was how perfectly done those potatoes were.  Just the right amount of crisp, seasoning, and perfectly soft (but not too) on the inside.  We raved about them for a good amount of time after.

Breakfast unfortunately came to an end when we scraped our plates clean and we wandered through Woodstock, stopped at a brewery in Kingston with vegan beer options, and headed over to check in at the Homestead.

Just on the outskirts of Saugerties, NY (another very cute town) the Catskill Animal Sanctuary opened up to us like a little piece of heaven.  The pictures explain better than words, but even those don’t do it justice.  Along with the serene landscape, there was an air of unity, acceptance, pacifism, and love.  I quickly felt all of the pressures of my life slip away as we checked into the Sanctuary and took a walk around the grounds.

Since we were staying at the sanctuary that weekend, the Homestead Manager invited us to attend what would usually be a sponsors-only event – Sunset Stroll.  This event took place in the barn on Saturday evening (the day we arrived) and included live music from Rootbrew (not too loud that it disturbed the animals), vegan hor d’oeuvres, beer and wine, short tours of the sanctuary, and even photography tips from the sanctuary’s volunteer photographer.  We had planned on taking part in the tours and photo tips, but somebody was being incredibly friendly and would not allow us to stop giving her pets and keeping her company.  How could we say no to the big beautiful blue eyes of Cricket, resident horse?  We spent most of the evening hanging out with her and enjoying the refreshments, which were to die for.  We were most obsessed with the deviled potatoes (what a great idea!) and I, admittedly, was quite fond of the rosé (though I’m typically a Malbec girl).

My favorite part of the evening, aside from meeting Cricket, was meeting Catskill Animal Sanctuary founder, Kathy Stevens.  She was warm and welcoming and had this calming sense about her that I could see reflected in both the humans and the other animals.  She took the time to speak to us on multiple occasions throughout our stay and her dedication to the CAS mission was prevalent.  It was after speaking with her about Cricket at the Sunset Stroll that we decided to sponsor Cricket (We would have adopted her, but we thought our landlord might be a little peeved).

The following morning, after taking a stroll around the sanctuary, exploring Saugerties a bit, and getting our fill of coffee, we greeted our Homestead manager, Erica, who started prepping breakfast for the B&B guests.  As we were awake and energetic, she let us help make the delicious vegan breakfast which consisted of a savory tofu scramble and mouth-watering pancakes.

Though the food was definitely something to write home about, it was the atmosphere surrounding the morning that truly captured my heart.  There were two other couples staying at the Homestead that weekend who we immediately connected to and spent our breakfast having vibrant conversations about the animals, sanctuaries, joys and challenges of being vegan, our love for Cowspiracy and our distaste for What the Health, and how nice it would be to spend Thanksgiving at the Homestead, surrounded by our newfound sanctuary family members, cruelty-free dishes covering the table.

We took a tour of the sanctuary later that day with an excellent tour guide, Rocky.  Young, vivacious, and exceedingly knowledgeable, Rocky introduced us to chickens that enjoy being cuddled, lounging pigs escaping the heat, grazing cows, and friendly turkeys.  We were even visited by a tribe of goats, strolling down the trail on their way to get some food and pets.  We learned the stories of every animal we met (though the two hour tour didn’t allow for a visit to all of the animals because the sanctuary has over 300 rescued animals!)  Each animal was rescued from a terrible life of abuse, neglect, and exploitation.  It was often difficult to listen to the devastating tales of their past lives.  At times I felt a few tears escaping from my eyes – tears of pain and anger, but also tears of joy, seeing these animals now living a life where they are cared for and loved.

At the end of the tour we were treated to a buffet of vegan samples, revealing to those who may not be vegan or who are new vegans the endless possibilities of a plant-based diet, whether someone is a top chef or more of a grilled cheese chef.  They also had an array of brochures and demos offering enlightenment on everything from vegan restaurants to the horror of factory farms.

The remainder of our trip comprised of exploring charming Hudson Valley towns, meeting friends at a brewery, dreaming about moving up to the Catskills and living a simpler life, and finally, meeting up with our new sanctuary friends from Portland, Maine in their suite at the Homestead.  We chatted about veganism among other topics – hiking, traveling, pets – and enjoyed beer they brought down from one of the many local breweries popping up in Portland.  I kept thinking about how nice it was to connect with and become friends with people we had just met.  Being a mostly introverted and socially anxious individual, I usually find it very difficult to speak comfortably with people I’ve just met.  Jeff even commented on how impressed he was with my extroversion.

Since going vegan, but even before, I have never felt more comfortable and accepted than when I was at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary.  Every person we met was a delight, from our fellow visitors, to our Homestead Manager Erica, to our tour guide Rocky, to the founder Kathy.  It was the perfect getaway – we were able to relax, be social, learn and grow.  I would recommend staying at the Homestead to anyone who lives the vegan lifestyle (and those wanting to learn more!).  Even though we may have spent a little more money than if we had stayed at a hotel, the experience was worth it and knowing that our money was helping the sanctuary and the animals was the best part.  I didn’t even feel guilty when I bought myself an array of gifts at the gift shop.  🙂

See you at the sanctuary!

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Southwest Summer Salad with Spicy Mango Pico Dressing

For the past few years, I’ve been simultaneously working full-time and completing my B.A. at night.  Last week, I took my final class and to celebrate my newfound free-time and the start of my new life, I decided to experiment with some of my favorite flavors and ingredients.  Thus was born the:

Southwest Summer Salad with Spicy Mango Pico Dressing

This flavorful dish is perfect for entertaining friends as it looks absolutely gorgeous with an array of bright colors and a variety of shapes.  It’s light, but satisfying, and can be done completely raw or with sautéed mushrooms on top to add some warmth and heartiness.

 

Southwest Summer Salad

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What you need:

  • 1 bunch of Red Kale de-ribbed and chopped (de-ribbing is removing the leaves of the kale from the stem – red kale is sweeter than other kale, but the stem is very bitter and will make the dish inedible for most)
  • 1 cup Cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Onions finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Celery finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Mango finely chopped
  • 1 Serrano or Jalapeno sliced sideways for garnish (see pic)
  • 1 Stripy Pepper – sliced sideways for garnish (see pic – If you can’t find one, I would use a yellow or red pepper)
  • 1 Red Cactus Pear aka Prickly Pear – sliced sideways for garnish (see pic)

Putting it Together:

  • Add Kale, Cilantro, Yellow and Red Bell Peppers, Onions, Celery, and Mango to large bowl.  Toss.
  • Top with Stripy Pepper and Serrano slices
  • Place Cactus Pear slices around the sides of the bowl (these are not particularly good to eat fresh – after presenting the dish, these can be taken away to be used for a jam, syrup, perhaps a margarita to stick with theme?)

That was easy!  Now for the pico dressing – also pretty easy 🙂

Spicy Mango Pico Dressing

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What you need:

  • 1/2 cup Mango chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup Tomato chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup Onion chopped finely
  • 1/3 cup Celery chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp. Serrano chopped finely
  • 1/2 tbsp. Cilantro chopped finely
  • 1/2 Lime
  • Dash of Salt (to taste)

Putting it Together:

  • Mix Mango, Tomato, Onion, Celery, Serrano, and Cilantro in small bowl.
  • Squeeze Lime on top and mix.
  • Add dash of salt, taste, add more if necessary.

And you’re done!  The most time-consuming is chopping the vegetables.  Let me tell you an incredible secret, though.  If you’re short on time or feeling lazy, you can buy most of them pre-chopped.  Add sauteed mushrooms and homemade chips on top for an extra treat.  Enjoy!

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Vegan Korean Tacos

So my incredible boyfriend had the amazing idea and ambition to make vegan Korean tacos this week. He even made homemade fermented kimchi! These tacos were so good, we went back to the store a couple of days after the first go-around to get more tofu so we could make them again. The kimchi takes a bit of preparation and should be made a few days before the tacos so it has time to ferment. The first night we ate the kimchi as is without letting it ferment and it was still great, but I definitely noticed the difference the second time around and would suggest prepping the kimchi ahead of time if you think of it.

The rest is super easy! Marinated tofu with some finely chopped veggies (food processor all the way).

Anyways, my boyfriend and his brother were just discussing how annoying it is when you have to scroll through a long narrative before you get to the recipe sooooo I’ll just get to the (soy) meat and potatoes of this post.

Kimchi

What you need:

  • Large glass jar
  • 1 cabbage (we used 3/4 of the head)
  • 5 scallions
  • Brine – approximately 1 cup salt, 3 cups water
  • 1 pear
  • 6 radishes
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp red pepper
  • 1.5 inches ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic

Putting it together:

  • Chop the cabbage and radishes into 1 inch strips
  • In a large bowl, combine brine, cabbage, and radishes. Use a plate or something similar to push down in the veggies so they are submerged in the brine. Let soak for 1 hour.
  • While you’re waiting for your cabbage and radishes, finely pulse the pear, garlic, 3 of the scallions, and the ginger in a food processor until they are finely chopped.
  • In a small bowl or cup, combine the paprika, red pepper, and a small amount of water (about 1 tbsp) to create a paste.  Add to the food processor with the other ingredients.
  • After an hour, drain the cabbage and radishes, keeping about 1 cup of the brine to pour over kimchi.
  • Chop the 2 remaining scallions and add to the cabbage and radish mix.
  • Add food processor mix to cabbage mix and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour vegetable mix into glass jar with a tight fitting lid, leaving about 1 inch of open space at the top. Pour cup of brine over veggie mix. Place in cool, dry place for 24-48 hours. We let it ferment for 36 and it was perfect.

Korean Tacos


What you need:

  • 1 brick of extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 jar Korean Bulgogi sauce
  • Kimchi
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic

Putting it together:

  • Cut tofu in half (lengthwise), press under paper towels and something heavy for 15 minutes.
  • Optional Tofu Freezing for a less spongy texture: cover tofu with plastic and and freeze. Boil to thaw.
  • Chop into 1/2 inch cubes and place in ziplock baggy with mushrooms (if desired) and bulgogi sauce. Massage bag until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed in the sauce.
  • Let marinate for at least one hour (the longer the better).
  • Sautée ingredients on medium/ high with olive oil and garlic until browned.
  • Enjoy the most delicious vegan Korean tacos ever!


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What week is it? Healthy Vegan Drinks Week! Califia Cold Brews, Maca Root, Kombucha

So I have been awful at keeping up with my blog lately – silly work and school keep getting in the way of what’s really important – sharing vegan things and cute pictures of my ferrets with you!  Since I’m sure you’re all in ferret withdrawal, I’ll share a cute pic before I get started:

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What a cutie pie on top of his tower (shhhh the cat thinks it’s his tower).

Okay, now that we all feel much better after seeing that adorable little guy, we can talk about some delicious vegan health drinks I’ve discovered recently and the amazing health benefits!

First up – Kombucha – what a drink!  I am seriously obsessed with these drinks.  I’ve probably had at least 7 by now and I only discovered them last weekend!  The only downside to these drinks is they can be a little expensive – usually about $4.00 per bottle.  However, the health benefits and the delicious carbonated taste are worth it.  It’s possible to make your own Kombucha too, which I think I’m going to try once the 4-8 dollars per day catches up to me.  🙂

My boyfriend and I have been trying to cut out the weeknight beer or two that we use to de-stress, so I’ve been drinking Kombucha instead.  It gives me the same satisfaction of taking a sip of beer.  The carbonation and fermented flavor gives it a similar taste without producing any kind of buzz.  Kombucha increases gut health, aids digestion, and can help with weight loss and mood stability.  There are claims that it also helps to ward off cancer and heart-disease, but I don’t think the scientific evidence is there to back that up.  Whatever the case, it’s certainly a good replacement for beer or soda if you’re trying to cut down on your alcohol or sugary drink consumption.  So far, I’ve noticed that it definitely has helped with my digestion and I feel like my energy level is higher (though that may be just from the absence of that weeknight beer 🙂 ).

You can’t find Kombucha everywhere, but they carry it at Kings, Whole Foods and most health stores.  If you’re in the North Jersey area, they have it at Grassroots (Denville) and Green Life Market (Andover, Butler, Morristown).  I think I’ve heard that they carry it at some ShopRites and Stop and Shops now too.

Kevita‘s one of my favorite brands.  They have so many flavors and they are all delicious so far!  I love the Mango Habanero and Tart Cherry.  Health-Ade is great too!  My favorite of theirs is Pink Lady Apple.

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My other favorite recent discovery is Rebbl‘s maca Cold-Brew.  I found this drink at Kings but they also have these at Whole Foods and other health food markets.  At first the drink had a strange taste, but before the end of the drink, I had fallen in love with it!  Maca has many health benefits – it’s a natural energy booster, helps with memory and mood, and is filled with amino acids.  It also acts as a natural antioxidant.

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So the last brand of drinks I’m going to talk about may not have as many health benefits as the maca root drink and the Kombucha, but they are soooo delicious and of course, vegan.  Califia Farms’ Cold Brew Coffees are to die for.  They come in eight different flavors ranging from Espresso to my personal favorite, Salted Caramel.  We found these drinks at Kings, but they can also be found at Whole Foods, ShopRite, Acme, even Target!  It looks like these are pretty easy to find no matter where you live, so definitely check them out!  The Salted Caramel and Mocha Mexica taste like milkshakes!  So yummy.

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Enjoy trying these drinks!  I’ll (hopefully) see you next week!


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Weeks 8 & 9 – Vegan Lasagna, Vegan Enchiladas

I’ve been so busy lately it’s been hard to keep up with posting, but in the last two weeks we have made so many delicious meals!  I’ve picked my two favorite to share with you: both originals by moi, both incredibly tasty and vegan!

Vegan Lasagna

So we live in a one-bedroom apartment and are still acquiring all of the things we need to adult properly.  We did not have a lasagna pan, which resulted in using two mini rounds to make our lasagna.  This made things a little difficult as far as fitting the noodles and the end result was a little messy, but it tasted great and that’s all I care about!  It’s as satisfying as the lasagna you remembered, with a hearty meat(less) sauce, creamy vegan ricotta and mozzarella, and yummy veggies and white beans for added nutrients and variety.

This recipe makes two 10-inch rounds and there will be some leftover sauce and noodles (which I just made into a pasta and ate as is).  It probably would be a lot easier in a regular old lasagna pan, so feel free to not follow our negative example by not having the necessary kitchen tools!

What you need:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 (about 8oz) can of white beans (strained)
  • 1/2 cup broccoli (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup asparagus (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup onions (chopped)
  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 1 container of Kite Hill’s  Vegan Ricotta
  • Pasta sauce (recipe for the one I made below)
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds (any will work, but we were pretty happy with this brand)

Pasta Sauce:

  • Olive Oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup onions (depending on your onion obsession – I used 1/2 cup)
  • 1 (8oz) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 (8oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 (6oz) can of tomato paste
  • 1 package Light Life’s Smart Ground Meatless Original Crumbles
  • 1/2 cup sliced Portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced basil (fresh)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of pepper

Putting it together:

Pasta Sauce:

  1.  In a large pan, sautee onions in olive oil until translucent.
  2. In a separate pan, cook meatless crumbles according to the package directions.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, paste, and crumbles (when ready) to onions.
  4. Stir in sliced mushrooms, garlic, basil, and other spices.
  5. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste before adding to lasagna to make sure it’s to your liking – add in spices as appropriate!

Lasagna:

  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to box directions.
  2. While waiting for the pasta to cook, sautee onions in olive oil.  Once translucent, add in chopped broccoli and asparagus.  Layer bottom of lasagna pan (or whichever baking pans you can find) with vegetables and white beans.
  3. Add first layer of lasagna noodles over veggie/ bean mix.
  4. Add vegan ricotta crumbles, spread as much as possible, over lasagna noodles.
  5. Add sauce.
  6. Add noodles.
  7. Add cheese.
  8. Add sauce.
  9. Add noodles.
  10. Add sauce.
  11. Bake in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes.
  12. Enjoy!  Even if it turns out messy like ours did, it will still be insanely satisfying.

Vegan Enchiladas

Yum, yum, yum!  I always get so excited about making and eating Mexican style food.  Before I went vegan, I made the best cheese enchiladas.  I have to give the credit to my mom for that one, since she gave me the recipe, but I have created my own vegan recipe which is perfect for dairy-free, meat-free enchilada lovers!  It has all the necessities – meatless crumbles, beans, veggies, cheesy replacements, and Serrano peppers and chiles for that spice!

Again, we used the two 10-inch rounds for this dish.  This also would have been easier in a rectangular dish, but it worked out okay in the rounds too.

What you need:

  • 1 package tortillas
  • 2 (10oz) cans vegan green enchilada sauce (it probably won’t say – just be sure to check the ingredients)
  • 1 (10oz) can vegetarian refried beans (make sure they’re also vegan!)
  • Dash onion powder
  • Dash garlic powder
  • 1 (4.5oz) can chopped chiles
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 3 Serrano peppers
  • 1 cup mixed veggies (chopped – I used peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, squash)
  • 1 package Light Life’s Smart Ground Meatless Original Crumbles (love this stuff!)
  • About 4-5 slices of Field Roast’s Chao Tomato Cayenne slices
  • About 4-5 slices of Follow Your Heart’s Pepper Jack style slices

Putting it together:

Refried Beans:

  1. In a small pot, put can of refried beans and about a third of the can of chiles.
  2.  Add 1 diced Serrano pepper, a few of the diced onions, dash of onion powder and garlic powder.
  3. I would normally put hot sauce in my refried beans as well (Cholula of course), but we didn’t have any.  It was truly a tragedy.  If you have a love for spicy foods, I would suggest mixing some hot sauce into your beans as well.

Enchiladas:

  1. Use one can of enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of your pan(s).
  2. Take tortillas and add refried beans, meatless crumbles, sprinkle some veggies, onions and Serranos on there.
  3. Line those pans until there’s no more room!
  4. Place slices of Chao and Pepper Jack over enchiladas, making sure not to miss a single section of tortilla!
  5. Pour second can of enchilada sauce over enchiladas.
  6. Bake for about 30-45 minutes at 350 or until the “cheesy” slices look melted.
  7. Enjoy and then use all of your leftovers to make a massive vegan burrito…. yummmmmmmm.

Thanks for reading!  Hope you enjoy these recipes!


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Week 7 – Abe’s Muffins

So week 5 & 6 of veganism were a bit of a blur due to a nasty bout of influenza which had me unable to do or eat much of anything.  To top it off, my boyfriend was sick and both ferrets caught it too!  We were a huge mess of sniffles, sneezes, wheezes and other nasty illness things I won’t mention.  This resulted in a diet of canned Amy’s soups and vegan cold & flu medicine for two weeks.  Fortunately for me, week 7 started on a much better note.  As my flu subsided and my appetite returned, I was graced with the arrival of seven different flavors of vegan muffins from Abe’s.  I was so grateful they asked me to review these muffins because it meant I got to stuff my face with these delicious treats and after a week of eating little to nothing, these were exactly what I wanted to chow down on.

These muffins are the perfect vegan treat to have lying around your kitchen.  Nearly bite-size (at least the ones I tried), they are excellent for a quick snack, breakfast side, or dessert.  Even my boyfriend, who is not a fan of sweets, loved these muffins!  I had the muffins straight from the fridge and I also tried them heated up in the oven for a few minutes, topped with a dollop of earth balance buttery spread.  Though delicious both ways, the warm muffins took the cake (pun intended!).  Each flavor was uniquely special and though I would happily snack on any of these muffins at any time, they each have optimal moments of consumption in my book.

Let’s start with the traditional Blueberry muffin: Wild Blueberry Smash

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I couldn’t have been happier when I warmed this muffin in the oven, topped it with buttery spread, and enjoyed what was truly a reminiscent breakfast from my childhood.  This is the perfect muffin to enjoy on a Sunday morning with your loved ones.  It doesn’t need to be paired with anything, but I’m sure it would be a nice side to a tofu scramble.  Just sweet enough to break up a savory breakfast, but not so sweet that it feels like dessert.

Apple Cider

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Mmmmm… so you know that feeling you get when you grew up in Las Vegas and you move to New Jersey and you experience your first real autumn and you go pumpkin picking at the local farm with a childlike exuberance and the little market next to the parking lot is selling fresh apple cider and apple cider donuts?  Just me?? Okay, well all of us East coasters certainly can relate to the apple cider takeover of fall and those delicious cider donuts that every farm along the side of the road seems to be selling come October.  These muffins are the perfect substitute for apple cider products with eggs or milk in them!  I can’t wait until fall so I can enjoy them in a seasonally appropriate way – warmed up with a glass of hot cider (spiked with bourbon of course) as I watch the red and gold leaves fall from my window.

Lemon Poppy and Cranberry Orange Zest

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Is it summer yet?  It feels like it with these wildly refreshing flavors!  These flavors are also great for breakfast with their fruity bases.  I will be enjoying these muffins at room temperature along with a nice tall glass of lemonade as soon as bikini season hits.

Okay, now for my absolute favorite flavor of these muffins: Golden Cornbread

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You gotta heat these up.  Not because they are bad cold (still absolutely delicious), but because heated up and smothered with buttery spread, these muffins will make you feel like you just walked into a diner in South Carolina.  I would use these muffins as a side to any tofu scramble, southwestern dish, or southern cuisine.  True comfort food.  Highly enjoyable.  These muffins were gone before the day was through.

Dessert time! Chocolate Chip CookieCC12

Heavenly.  I couldn’t stop popping these bad boys.  They are delectable cold, but great warmed up too.  The chocolate chips melt in your mouth and you realize that you don’t have to miss out on anything when you go vegan.  The perfect dessert is still attainable with Abe’s Chocolate Chip Cookie muffins!

Coconut Carrot Cake

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These were my boyfriend’s favorites.  His favorite dessert is carrot cake and he was soooo excited when he discovered these delicious little muffin cakes!  Moist, soft, and just the right amount of sweetness, these treats did not last long.

To conclude, I would recommend these muffins to any vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore!  There is nothing left to be desired from these delicacies and they are perfect for most people with dietary restrictions or food allergies.  These wonderful muffins can be found in many places across the country.  Their website will tell you where to find them based on where you live, but for the most part, head on over to your local Whole Foods and check the bakery section for these babies – they will probably carry them.  Happy face-stuffing!