Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Sentient Bean

The Sentient Bean
Over Labor Day weekend I went to Savannah with my boyfriend Jack. Savannah is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We took our bikes and rode around all weekend. It is so much more relaxing on a bike than in a car. We hung out in the park, took a tour of the historic district and went on a late night ghost tour to name a few things.
Inside the Sentient Bean
Prior to the trip I planned out meal plans. We brought most of our meals with us so we could picnic wherever we went each day. Of course, the fun of going on a trip is finding places that have vegan menu items. I looked for a place that didn't offer items that I could just go to the grocery store and make at home. The last time I was in Savannah we went to The Distillery and got vegan black bean burgers. They were good but I can make that at home. This time, after reading a ton of reviews, I came across a restaurant called The Sentient Bean. Online it looked like they were a cafe that offered baked goods, which is better than nothing.  Jack and I planned on going there the first day we got there for breakfast.  By the time we got ready and put our bikes on the car it was 10:30. Make some room for getting lost (I was stubborn and didn't use the GPS) and we got there at 11.
Our table number
The place was very cool on the outside. There were benches outside where people and their dogs were hanging out. Large landscapes of beautiful flowers were lining the sidewalk out front. The inside was just as cool. Lots of bright colored walls that were covered with artwork from local artists.
We stood in line planning on ordering a coffee and some king of baked banana loaf or pumpkin loaf. It was Jack who noticed that on the wall to our left were a whole bunch of papers that listed the menu items for the day.  Low and behold there were vegan items on the menu.

 They had a vegan parm and a BBQ tofu wrap. Jack got the parm and I got the BBQ tofu wrap. They gave us a number which was very cool all on its own. We ordered some iced tea out of their large selection of teas and found a table.

The place had free Wi-fi, it seemed all of Savannah had free Wi-fi, so Jack and I planned out where we were going to go for the day. It took about 10-15 minutes to get our meals and let me tell you, they were both fantastic. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who goes to Savannah. Also, while I was there I found out that there is a health food store next door that offers vegan meals as well. They were closed so I can't really tell you anything other than that.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pacifica products

These products are vegan and they smell fantastic. They offer candles, perfumes, soaps, lotions, and more.

They have a scent for everyone. They categorize their scents into 4 categories -florals, fruits, herbs and spices, and woods and resins.
My favorite is Hawaiian Ruby Guava. Its fun and tropical.

You can find these products at Whole Foods, some natural food stores, on their website, on and sometimes you can even find the products at TJMaxx (at discounted prices, which is nice).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vegan Banana Almond Milk Ice Cream

I am back. I have been vegan one year and one month and I wont lie, I had a few hiccups in the road.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't stray from being vegan, I just went for the easy way out too many times (vegan processed foods). I am back on course however and want to share some recipes that I have been back piling. Since I haven't posted in awhile I will honor you all with a very easy dessert first. 

Prep time: 1 day
Cook time: 5 minutes
Tools: Ziploc bag, small blender, spoon

2 yellow bananas (some brown spots are okay)
~1/4 c almond milk (you can use soy or coconut milk as well)

Directions: One day in advance, peel bananas and place them into a ziploc bag. Then put them into the freezer.  After a day, take the bananas out of the freezer, slice them into quarters -try not to hold them for too long in your hand as they will thaw more quickly- place them into a blender. Add about half the milk. Turn on blender. Continue to add milk -depending on the size of the bananas you may need to add more milk than just 1/4 cup - until the mixture is just thin enough to blend thoroughly in the blender. You want it too be blended well but still the thickness of ice cream.

Notes: I use a Magic Bullet to make this as I find it to be just the right size to blend this to perfection.

It's just that easy! And oh so good!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vegan Buckwheat Pancakes

Since the first weekend I became vegan I have been trying to come up with a recipe for buckwheat pancakes. 8 months later I finally made a buckwheat pancake that wasn't flat, hard as a brick or grainy. I tested them out on my boyfriend, as he hates just about everything, and he likes these so they passed the test and now I am posting them.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Tools: Plate, fry pan, spatula, mixing spoon, medium mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons.

Vegan Buckwheat Pancakes
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 c buckwheat
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 c almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
4 tsp vegetable oil

Directions: Set oven to lowest temp. Mix together all dry ingredients, add in the wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Heat frying pan on medium heat. Add vegan butter or oil to pan. Cook each pancake approximately 2 minutes on each side. Add oil or butter as needed between each pancake. Place each pancake on a plate in the oven to keep them warm as you cook the batch.

Note: I use Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour when I bake, as I try and stay away from all bleached flours. Due to the use of this flour, these pancakes are gluten free. Now all you have to do is heat up a side of Organic Maple Syrup to finish the meal off (although, they taste good without it too).  Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

'Not So Crabby' Crab Cakes

    Last month I went to Orlando, FL for vacation. While planning my trip I looked up all the Whole Foods in the vicinity of my hotel, to my surprise there was one right down the street. Whole Foods makes being vegan and being on vacation so easy. The items at their buffet are marked vegan on the label if they are vegan and there are so many choices. It is fantastic! I ate a lot of interesting things, most of which I am now trying to recreate.
Whole Foods in Orlando, FL
    On the way back from Orlando my boyfriend and I stopped in the Charleston Whole Foods to stock up, as it is only an hour and a half from home. I was trying to decide what to make for dinner when I came across vegan crab cakes in their deli case. They looked so good that I didn't even have to think about it.  They really were amazing. It was a flavor that I didn't even know I missed. So, I wrote down all the ingredients that were written on the package and went to work on recreating it. The only difficult part was the crabby part. Whole foods just chops up their chicken nuggets in order to get a crab like texture. I try and keep it as natural as possible so I wanted to come up with a way to not use box bought faux chicken nuggets. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

Prep time: 24 hours and 20 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Tools: Quart size freezer bag, cheese cloth, large mixing bowl, measuring spoons and cups, sharp knife and  greased baking sheet
Oven Setting: Broil

1 package extra firm, organic tofu
1 1/8c vegan breadcrumbs
1/4c onion
1 stalk celery
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/3 c vegan mayonnaise

Directions: Drain tofu and place into freezer bag. Place in the freezer for at least 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove tofu from bag and place in microwave until thawed, check every 2 minutes to make sure that it does not cook. Total time to thaw is about 4 minutes. Place tofu in cheese cloth and squeeze until as much of the moisture from the tofu is gone. Finely chop celery and onion. Place into mixing bowl. Crumble the tofu and add to mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Mold mixture into 6 cakes. Place cakes onto greased baking sheet. Place into oven. Cook on both sides for approximately 8 minutes.

Note: Goes great with a side of Asparagus.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Listening in

In anything that we do we should always listen to our body. It tell us when we are tired, when we are thirsty, when we are weak and what foods we should eat and not eat. Listen carefully. It is telling you this for a reason.

An example: if you crave a banana, maybe your body is telling you that it needs potassium or some other nutrient that a banana can provide.  I am finding that the more I listen to this inner voice the better I feel. Now, that doesn't mean when my body craves a Dairy Free Newman O that I run to the store for a bag of Newman O's. I know that there is really no nutritional value in a Newman O, I am just having a sugar craving.  So, I eat a banana or an apple to cause that urge to subside. If it doesn't, then I will have a square of Enjoy Life chocolate and leave it at that.

Lately my body has been telling me that all it wants to eat is lima beans, brown rice and asparagus. I decided to listen to it. Although that combo might seem bland to probably everyone, every time I eat it I find it to be absolutely delicious. I feel refreshed and today I dropped down to a weight I have been trying to reach for quite awhile now. So, if you are not already doing so, listen to your body and see what happens.


  • For the lima beans, bring 2 cups water and 1 cup lima beans to a boil. Add a dash of salt while cooking. Cook for 20 minutes.
  • For the asparagus, toss with olive oil and garlic powder and cook on 375F for ~17 minutes.
  • For the rice, bring 2 cups water, 1 cup rice and a 2x2 inch piece of Kombu (seaweed) to a boil, then  reduce it to low temp and cook until the rice has soaked up the water in the bottom of the pan (approx. 25 minutes on simmer). 
Note: I add shoyu to the rice to give it some more flavor and I eat the seaweed for pure delight.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kukicha Iced Tea

I love tea. Love tea! On the 16th of January (2011) I will be one year soda free. I replaced my soda cravings with tea and have found that I don't miss the sugar filled water they call soda one bit.

In the north you would order tea and it would be unsweetened and come with a side of sugar packets. In the south you ask for tea and they put a syrup flavored drink in front of you that only has an aftertaste of tea.  In my unhealthy days I had no problem drinking sweet tea. It wasn't until I started making sweet tea at home that I realized how much sugar actually goes into 1 pitcher of tea. Its pretty scary. So one day I decided I would not add sugar to my tea and try to drink it plain. It took all of a day to get used to it without sugar and now I wouldn't drink it any other way.
The following recipe is for the tea that I drink on a regular basis. It is a healthy alternative to soft drinks and/or sugary drinks and, well, it is absolutely delicious and refreshing.

Tools:  gallon pitcher, large pot, tea infuser or metal coffee filter (used specifically for tea)
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Steep time: minimum 1 hours

1/2 Tbsp loose leaf organic Kukicha

Bring a full pot of water to a boil. Just when you start to see large bubbles forming, turn off the stovetop and place the tea in the water. Let tea sit in the pot for at least 1 hour. Fill pitcher halfway with water or ice. Place tea diffuser or a metal coffee filter over pitcher and pour tea through filter to remove twigs. Add additional water to the pitcher, to fill, if needed.

Note: If you can't find loose leaf tea you can buy organic kukicha in tea bags at some natural food stores. Eden brand makes a good Kukicha box tea.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pasta Semplicistico

This is my favorite pasta recipe. I am not a huge fan of spaghetti sauce or the calories that come with spaghetti sauce so I came up with this recipe to alleviate that.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Tools: Cutting board, sharp knife, frying pan, mixing bowl, medium sized pot, fork, tongs

1/4 block tofu (firm or extra-firm)
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 c mushrooms
1/2 box whole wheat pasta
1/4 c onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp oregano
1/2 Tbsp italian seasoning

Make pasta noodles, per directions on the box. While noodles are cooking, finely chop the mushroom, garlic, onion and sun-dried tomato. In a frying pan, add oil and turn stove onto medium-high. Add the chopped vegetables. Stir regularly. Cook until onion is soft, approx. 5 minutes. In mixing bowl, add tofu. Use fork on tofu to make it into crumb size pieces. Add vegetables to tofu. Mix. Add spices/herbs. Mix. Strain pasta. Turn off burner. Put pasta back into pot and place on burner. Add the tofu, vegetable mixture to pasta and mix together.  Use tongs to remove pasta from pot and place onto plate. Enjoy!

Note:  I find that using tofu with pasta gives the pasta a ricotta cheese texture and is in no way overpowering to the meal. When cooking vegetables I always keep a small glass of water next to the stove in case the oil in the pan burns off before the onion is fully cooked. That way the vegetables don't burn to the pan and you don't increase the amount of fat in your meal by adding more oil. I buy my spaghetti noodles at Walmart in their gluten free section (usually in the baking aisle). Tofu you can get almost everywhere these days. In Walmart you can find it in the produce section.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Quinoa with Vegetables

I am going to be honest, quinoa is not one of my favorite grains.  I know how good it is for you, so I experiment a lot with this grain in order to try and make it more appealing to my tastes. This recipe is good as both a side or a quick snack. I serve it warm or cold.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Tools: Sauce pan, large frying pan, wooden spoon, cutting board and sharp knife

1 c Quinoa
3/4 c Corn
1/2 c Carrot
1/2 c Onion
1 Garlic clove
2 Tbsp Rice vinegar
1/4 c Cider vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon (optional)
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Chili Powder, to taste (optional)

Directions: Place 1 c Quinoa and 2 c water in sauce pan. Bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce temp and simmer for 10-15 minutes. While cooking quinoa chop carrot, onion and garlic clove. Add oil to frying pan and turn stovetop onto medium-high heat. Add carrot, onion, garlic and corn. Mix occasionally for 5 minutes. Turn stovetop down to medium-low heat. Add rice vinegar, cider vinegar, dijon, chili powder and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Lastly, add quinoa to frying pan. Mix thoroughly and then enjoy.

Monday, January 3, 2011


This is one of my favorite things to make. I think of it as a universal condiment. It is great on its own, with tortilla chips, on sandwiches, in burritos, and so much more.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Tools: Mixing bowl, Potato masher or fork, sharp knife, spoon
3 avocados
1/4 chopped onion
2 cherry tomatoes
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Directions: Core the avocados (cut around avocado - cut on the longest circumference - pull apart. With the knifes blade hit the nut quickly and with some strength - knife should be stuck in the nut- twist, this should loosen the nut from the avocado. Dispose of nut). With spoon, dig out meat of the avocado and place in mixing bowl. Add onion, tomatoes, pepper and salt. With potato masher or fork, mash ingredients together until you reach your desired consistency.

Note: Choose avocados that give a little bit when you put pressure on the outside of the skin.

One use for Guacamole:
I love mexican food and one of the easiest, fulfilling meals are burritos.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
(all are optional)
Refried beans

Directions: Layer ingredients down the center of tortilla (the amount of each ingredient used is based on your tastes). Enjoy!