"Reinventing Indulgence" One meal at a time!

Archive for the ‘snacks’ Category

Sprouted Chick Pea – Red Pepper Hummus

Vegans and hummus go hand in hand. More frequently than not, it’s our saviour. Well.. mine anyway. It’s like a safe food. Non-vegans generally adore it and so will offer it as a snack at parties. Many restaurants will carry it, especially the Mediterranean ones and for sure.. a falalfa place is always nearby. In New york at least!

HummuIMG_4799s goes well with breads, crackers, crisps as well as carrots, celery, peppers and other raw vegetables. I’m starting to see snack pack sizes of hummus in the grocery stores- that’s a positive move for kids and people on the go.

On the flip side, it’s actually really easy to make it yourself. I have blogged hummus many times;  I even thought I specifically blogged “sprouted chick pea hummus” but I guess I didn’t. I’m gearing up to go raw vegan (join me) for a little while, since the weather is finally breaking into consectutive days of sunshine and warmth here in New York.

Raw vegan for me- means it’s time to get sprouting. I starting to soak a few things the other day and Instagramed it. Someone asked me to post the outcomes so here goes one of them:

Recipe and how to make:
Sprouted Chick Pea – Red Pepper Hummus:

  • I soak the chick peas overnight and then dIMG_4794rain and rinse them.IMG_4792
  • Let them sit until you see the sprouts coming out. Usually within one or two days (even three). It’s good to rinse them and move them around to shake the water off.
  • Now I have a live food full of enzymes.
    I like this quote from Brenda Davis:
    “We can live about 3 weeks without food and 3 days without water, but we would likely survive only about 3 minutes without enzymes.”
  • I toss a little over one cup of the sprouted chick peas into the food processor
  • I put in my tahini and extra virgin olive oil; at least two big tablespoons of both. Taste test as you go!
  • Crush some garlic and let it sit for a few minutes, then add it in
  • Add freshly squeezed lemon; i used a few cut wedges
  • Hot sauce; the title should really be Sprouted Chick Pea – Red Pepper Hummus; the Spicy Version!
  • Organic red pepper cut into pieces and then added to food processor
  • Sea salt

So delicious!



 From Slim Jims to Primal Strips..

It doesn’t really matter where I choose to shop, I still always have to go to Whole Foods for some ‘nitch’ item. Today it was about finding pure apricot oil, which I didn’t manage to find and then a coconut yogurt that I was testing out for a few friends, which I didn’t like for the record. It never fails though as I go in looking for one thing, I always end up with a bunch of others and a huge $100 grocery bill.primal

Someone mentioned this “Primal Strips” vegan jerky on the “Veganism” facebook group page. Usually someone kills an item there within minutes due to some ingredient issue but I didn’t see anything in the minute or so that I scanned the comments. If it’s not the vegan police, then it’s the GMO police! It’s cool, I’m a vegan warrior with a pba card and I work moonlighting as a GMO undercover rep lol. Can it be true? Is there a vegan beef jerky? The company name is Primal? I thought the “caveman” people owned that word! I’m intrigued. I see it. I buy it. I eat it. Then I go home, read the label, have some google time and write this blog.

The most important thing is that it’s vegan and non-gmo right? Well, I completely forgot that I was a beef jerky addict. It’s all coming back now. I had the addiction in college and then years later when I was a BJs member.  I would buy them in bulk. They would disappear in seconds. What was in those? What’s in these for that matter?

For now though, this is my only comparison: a Slim Jim. Now I’m not even talking vegan I know but I am talking addiction to those who relate with me on that level. After I ate this, it all started to come back to me. Why do I do this anyway, I experiment far too much with foods “just because they are vegan”. I guess that is the risk I take as a vegan blogger. Mind you, I am only eating this because we had a discussion about it in the Vegan for Lent group too. I was curious.

Well now I do my research – I did promise to blog every day during lent! Besides, the Food Babe’s new book is right next to me on my desk so I almost feel guilty if I don’t. (The Food babe Way). I already know what she would say.. um no. lol. I’m guessing because it has a bunch of ingredients, a fancy way of saying soy isolate and then the word natural. Personally, I don’t like the word natural very much. At least with “artificial”, I know it’s bad but with natural – now I have to play the game and find out. There is no “natural” agency and even if there were, what do they know or do anyway? The agencies we have now don’t even protect us as it is.. aka the FDA and USDA. I do appreciate the organic label although many doubt it as well and I live by the non-gmo label.nongmo-certified

Believe what you want and I will do the same. “Natural” is over-rated, over used, and means nothing. State the natural vegetarian spices that you use – what’s the problem lol?

I can only speak for the one I tried: HOT & SPICY.

Yes it was very good. It did bring up bad binge moments for me though since I used to eat those Slim Jims by the box. I don’t even know how I wasn’t a million pounds, a diabetic and a high risk heart patient – between my candy and pasta addictions alone and then this one which I had all but forgotten. Thanks vegan friends for reminding me.

It passed the taste test. I’m impressed. I guess this can be classified as Reinventing Indulgence, which is what it’s all about for me now. It’s a previously binged item.. “reinvented”. The feelings it brings up though are still weird for me so maybe I will just stay away.

Could this be an occasional vegan snack? Yes, absolutely for someone without addictions. If you are addicted to these types, watch out for the salt. I just took a look at the Slim Jim label – disgusting! I don’t know and I don’t want to know what mechanically separated chicken is. Urgh.. corn syrup, dextrose, natural flavors, textured soy flour, caramel, hydrolyzed soy, beef, pork (I’m crying now.. my poor lil’ pigs); stop.. I can’t even read it anymore.

I am so blessed I changed my lifestyle.

Back to the Primal Strips. Ok at first glance the ingredients here looked good to me for a snack.. a vegan snack.

[Shiitake Mushrooms, Water, Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce (Water, Non-Gmo Soybeans, Sea Salt), Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Licorice Root, Non-Gmo Vital Gluten (Wheat Protein), Seaweed Extract, Unrefined Evaporated Cane Juice, Non-Gmo Isolated High Fiber Soy Protein, Sea Salt, Natural Vegetarian Spices. No Msg Added.]

I don’t have a problem with soy like some do but it must be non-gmo. The same goes for the soy sauce in here and the canola oil. I do avoid gluten in breads but not so much for straight up seitan or ingredients like this one. I do not have a sensitivity to gluten, obviously if you do, you can’t have this. I like their wording “non-gmo isolated high fiber soy protein”. Is that soy isolate? It may be non-gmo but it’s sure super processed like most soy products. If you are going to eat tofu frequently (like i do), I suggest you let that be the soy intake and minimize all the other commercial products. Fermented soy of course is beneficial being tempeh, miso and natto for the most part.

I like that the first ingredient here is mushrooms. On the others, it’s either gluten or soy isolate. I do have a few questions on my second glance: is the soy sauce fermented? (That would be the healthier one). What is the seaweed extract? Carrageenan is a seaweed extract and happens to be in a lot of vegan foods. There are issues with it in regards to intestinal problems and inflammation; many say it’s not a great ingredient. I like that it says no MSG added but one of the other sticks says “yeast” and another says “smoke flavoring” so is it no msg or no msg added? For that matter, does the soy isolate have msg? I’ll give the benefit of the doubt here. It looks like this company really went out of their way to make a good product.

  • NON-GMO’s

 All in all, it looks ok to me as a vegan snack. I mean there has to be some substitution. I still say to make your own but for a processed snack, it’s pretty dam good, a far cry from my Slim Jim days.

Now I must head to Pinterest to learn how to make some vegan jerky from scratch. Time to break out the dehydrator!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.

Vegan day 309: Homemade Hummus

HUMMUS has been on my to-do list for far too long! Finally, I made it – the short cut way using a can of chick peas. I also enjoy soaking chick peas and sprouting them which could be used as a raw vegan hummus. 

Chick peas- 1 can
Tahini- 2 tablespoons
Lemon- 5 tablespoons
Garlic- 1 1/2
Salt- 1 teaspoons
Olive Oil- 2 tablespoons

I never knew this was so easy!
In a food processor, mix all ingredients and blend well. I made the first batch as is and for the second I added in chili sauce.

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.

[Sunday, November 4th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 259: Flax-Almond crackers

If I could dehydrate regularly, I would make granola, crackers and some type of bread each time. I could live on this food for sure. Crackers for me are my bread for now until I learn how to make other raw breads. I found this recipe in Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine by Gabriel Cousens, M.D. It’s for flax crackers but they are made with almonds too. I am beginning to think that almonds are the raw vegans’ “steak”.. for lack of a better word. Almonds are found in so many raw recipes. It’s exciting! I think I want to start ordering them in bulk- as in from an almond farm. If anyone knows a good almond dealer let me know: organic, raw and as local as possible! Thanks.
Flax-Almond crackers
Water 2 1/2 cups
Flax seed (ground) 1 1/2 cups
Almonds soaked 1 cup
Kale 1-2 cups chopped (kale is king)
Olive oil 1/4 cup
Salt 2T
Cumin 1T 
Combine all of the ingredients (except for the flax seed) into a blender and mix well. Then transfer to a mixing bowl and slowly add in the flax seed. Scoop onto dehydrator sheets. 
These crackers look similar to the LEMONGRASS COCONUT CRACKERS from the other day- but they taste completely different. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Saturday, September 15th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 256: Lemongrass Coconut Crackers

 Lemongrass Coconut Crackers

This is my second time making these. I realize now that my chef teacher at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health has called these crackers/ chips. When we made them in the Living & Raw Food Intensive- they were like thin crackers- almost chips. I have not yet achieved that state with mine. The ones I made are definitely crackers but I would love to get them just a little thinner and crisper. Anyway, these are still delicious!

Recipe (as per Celine Beitchman)
Dried lemongrass or 4 tea bags
2 cups of hot water
2 cups of golden flax seeds (ground)
1 cup of dried shredded coconut (ground this more finely)
3 cups of young coconut meat
1 cup of cilantro
1 cup of scallions
1t sea salt
1/2 t dried chili flakes

I steeped the lemongrass tea bags and let them cool. I used green tea lemongrass which seemed to work well both times. I mixed the dried coconut, coconut meat and cooled tea in a food processor/ blender. Combine this coconut tea blend with the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Let the mixture thicken for 10 minutes. Spread this onto 3 dehydrating sheets at 112 degrees for 12-20 hours.

*I’m beginning to skip too many days and I have too many excuses now. Skipped blogs 249-255; I did have my last final though yippie! Finished my diploma program at American College of Healthcare Science: Holistic Health Practitioner! That’s the good news. The other news is– I have to reconnect with this blog if I am going to finish it. I am living each experience and instagraming away and then too many days pass and I don’t want to go backwards to write. I need someone to invent INSTABLOG haha! I’m bummed for you guys that I didn’t write about Gingersnap’s Organics or Candle Cafe West. Yummy on both parts!
Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Wednesday, September 12th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 194: Best granola ever

My second time making this granola– not sure if I officially blogged it yet!
I have to fully credit Celine Beitchman from the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health. It was here during a Living & Raw Food Intensive that I learned and practiced this original recipe. From this recipe, I varied slightly over to my own style.

Of my dehydration experiences to date which are not many lol- this is by far the greatest product delivered. I can live on this health-nutritious- delicious food! For me during this raw vegan month challenge- this is my bread! I need it almost daily until I can perfect a dehydrated cracker- still working on that! 

GRANOLA RECIPE (as per Natural Gourmet Institute NYC)
Raw buckwheat groats (not the roasting ones)m (2 1/2 cups)
Pitted dates for the paste (1 1/2 cups)
Apple- diced small
Flax seed ground (1/2 cup)
Soaked nuts- almonds, pecans and/ or walnuts (1 cup)
Soaked seeds- sunflower and/ or pumpkin (1 cup)
Hemp hearts (1/2 cup)
Raw vegan sugar (1/4- 1/2 cup optional; could use maple syrup too)
Cinnamon (2-3 teaspoons)
Vanilla extract (2 teaspoons)
Sea salt (1/4 teaspoon)
Dried fruit (i use a lot lol)

Particulars that I add
Goji berries
Dried fruit for sure! Golden raisins and whatever I have in stock- friend mangos or papaya diced tiny
Coconut flakes

It’s so easy:
First soak the buckwheat. Don’t make the mistake I have already made by soaking them overnight. This is not necessary-only 1-2 hours. Drain and rinse well. Continue to rinse a few times a day as the buckwheat begins to sprout. In one to two days you will see the sprouts and then it’s ready for the rest of the mix.

The various nuts and seeds of choice can be soaked overnight and then drained and rinsed. Feel free to do a quick pulse or blend for the larger nuts to be broken into smaller pieces.

The date paste can be prepared by putting some soaked dates into a food processor with 1/3 or less of water. Just enough water so the food processor doesn’t get stuck. This paste not only adds the sweet taste to the granola but holds it all together. 

In a large mixing bowl- put the buckwheat, nuts and/ or seeds, date paste, flax, hemp, seasonings and dried fruits. Mix well!

Next flatten mix onto dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for 24 hours at about 105 degrees. 


Celine Beitchman. 2012. Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health. Living & Raw Food Intensive. New York, NY.

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Thursday July 12th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 170: Tamari almonds

Tamari almonds will always put a smile on my face… not only because of their delicious taste but for the story that it reminds me of. A friend of mine and I had started to take different nuts and seeds into our newfound vegan diet. She went to the store one day and came back with a gallon size container of almonds- I was like… why so many almonds? lol that must have cost a fortune? We had this whole bet going with respect to the cost .. and the calories of the amount of almonds she brought back. She confessed later that the slide on the bulk container was stuck and the whole tray emptied into her bag. The calories on that bag of almonds was well into the upper thousands!

When you talk to the raw vegan people.. many say not to worry about calories. They probably say this because they themselves are not eating any processed foods. For everyone else though, it may be good to keep an eye on the calories. In my class a few weeks ago, I learned that soaking the almonds made the nutrients more available to our bodies. Then once we dehydrate them, they are naturally preserved for a longer shelf life. I now have three options that I know of after soaking my almonds– (1) almond milk, (2) almond cheese and (3) dehydrated almonds.. in this case:


I was so excited to make my own and I couldn’t believe just how easy it was.

Recipe to soak
2 cups raw almonds
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Soak 8-12 hours

Recipe to dehydrate
Drain the soaked almonds and rinse well.
Place in a mixing bowl with 1/4 cup tamari or nama shoyu. 
Marinate for 1-3 hours. 
Spread on a flex sheet and put on the dehydrator sheet at 105 degrees and 24 hours. 

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Monday June 18th 2012 blog]