My latest article on Chic Vegan

I’ve been known to spend entire days in the kitchen, tinkering with recipes and creating temporary masterpieces. While I love doing that more than most things, there are still times when I’m all about convenience foods. I like to have things that are quick to make, easy to grab as I run out to an appointment, and budget-friendly so that I can save a little splurge money for pricier groceries like artisanal vegan cheeses and specialty produce like passion fruits and fiddlehead ferns.fast food 1 Continue reading

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Yummy Plants turns 5

This past weekend, I attended the birthday celebration for my friend Rebecca Gilbert’s vegan lifestyle website, Yummy Plants, which turned 5.

It was held in a new bar/cafe/music gallery called Mixtape, which in addition to hosting the event provided some of the hors d’oeuvres and created specialty vegan cocktails. And if that doesn’t already sound like the makings of an amazing party, just wait because we’re not done yet; the proceeds benefited some of my favorite animal advocates like Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary, Justice for Animals, and Vegan Pittsburgh. Woohoo!

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Mixtape is a long and narrow space with areas to lounge and standing tables to mingle. I got there after the party had kicked off, and there was a great turnout. Most people were chatting in the front seating area or squeezed in the back near the bar. Continue reading

Our Best Vegan Thanksgiving Yet

Usually we have 2 family Thanksgivings, one with my partner’s family and one with mine. This year though, we only had one dinner (with my family) that was sandwiched between visiting his family and then some of my extended family. It was a full day to say the least.

We did most of our food prep on Wednesday, while dancing and singing to some 90’s alternative (nostalgia) and tunes from our regular rotation. Since we weren’t cooking for 2 dinners and we simplified our menu in general, it was nice to take our time and enjoy cooking together.

As with last year, about 1/2 of us at the table partook in the vegan Thanksgiving food and the other half had the turkey and nonvegan stuffing plus some of the vegan food.

The rundown:amuse buche

We started with an amuse bouche which was my ginger kuri pudding with granola and pomegranate seeds. Think of it as pumpkin pie but better. Continue reading

Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Raw corn is something to be celebrated. I can’t count the times that people wrinkled up their nose at me and said, “You eat corn raw?! Isn’t it hard to chew?” Nope. It’s super soft, and it’s sugary sweet due to the fact that it has yet to be cooked. It’s during the cooking process that the sugars are converted to starch. In the summer, and any time a recipe calls for boiled/steamed corn or even a bag of frozen corn, I usually use raw corn instead because it’s so delicious.

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We were at the store picking up taco ingredients for dinner one night, and my partner had also picked up some of the fresh corn that’s begun to flood the markets. He mentioned having it with dinner, and after convincing him that raw corn kernels would be great on tacos (there was a quick taste test involved), I made these fiesta-worthy tacos.

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Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients:

corn tortillas, 2-3 per person is plenty (or 4-6 if you like to double them up per taco)

Filling ingredients:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 large sweet potato, cubed and steamed

1/2 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp smoked paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Toppings:

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 cob of corn, kernels chopped, raw

1 jar of pineapple salsa

Instructions:

-Wash, cube, and steam the sweet potatoes in a steamer or a covered pan with a bit of water.

-Destem and chop a 1/4 cup of cilantro and set aside.

-Shuck 1 corn cob and slice off the kernels. Either 1) place flat on a cutting board and run the knife down the side of the cob. Rotate and repeat until you get all the way around, or 2) stand it with the point end straight up and cut down the cob. Rotate until you get all the way around. You may wish to place the cob in a bowl with this method as it can get messy.

-Meanwhile heat a skillet with a drizzle of oil on medium heat. Add the onions and saute until they become translucent. Then add the garlic and saute for 1-2 more minutes, stirring once or twice.

-Add black beans and spices into the skillet and stir. Let it cook for several minutes. If the sweet potatoes haven’t finished by this point, turn the burner off and cover the pan.

-When the sweet potatoes have finished, drain any water from them if need be, then add them to the skillet. Mash them slightly and cook them just long enough to get some color on them.

-Warm the corn tortillas and then place in filling and top with the raw corn, cilantro, and salsa.