The Vegan Diva: Veganized Foods

While summer is coming to a close I decided I would write a post on my favorite 5 great VEGAN FOODS FOR THE SUMMER! During the summer I really enjoy cold foods, soups, sandwiches, lots of salad and fruits and when I think of summer I think of bright colored foods, don’t you?

1) SHRIMP PO’BOY – Here we have a delicious Shrimp Po’Boy Wrap. My mouth is watering just looking at this picture. What’s in it? How does this replicate shrimp? If you go to the store you can actually buy soy-based prawns or non-soy based prawns that look exactly like shrimp. Even the reddish pink colored marks are on the “prawns.” Inside of this po-boy is a remoulade sauce that taste like heaven on earth. It reminds me of a chipotle sauce made with love and the perfect seasonings to go with it. I love the fact that it has mixed greens [and a side of Mrs. Beener’s famous salad dressing, YUMMM] inside of it because we all need greens for energy and for our organs to function properly.

Shrimp PoBoy
Shrimp Po’Boy

2) RAW VEGAN PIZZA – This is a raw vegan pizza made by a Chef at Seasoned Vegan. There are so many ways to make a raw vegan pizza and we tend to overlook it. Look at this presentation! Raw tomato sauce, my favorite vegetables and a flax crust to die for!

Raw Vegan Pizza
Raw Vegan Pizza

3) STUFFED AVOCADO

It’s stuffed with cashew cheese and almond meal, topped with pico de gallo with a side of mixed greens. I HAVE NEVER HAD ANYTHING LIKE THIS IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. This is pretty much perfection at its finest. The organic avocado is so sweet and the cashew cheese just adds that kick you won’t even miss real cheese. This is pretty much a better version of a deviled egg. I think we take for granted the fact that we can make a lot of these foods at home but choose to eat out at restaurants.

Stuffed Avocado
Stuffed Avocado

4) GRENADIAN CURRY SOUTHWEST CHICKEN

The other day I was craving grilled southwest chicken and something with curry in it. I went to the health food market near my house and figured I would make some for my family. I am of West Indian descent, a little island called Grenada. Grenada is known as the Spice Island country and I figured I would go back to one of my roots and created a family favorite. This “chicken” is actually made from a pea-protein and the texture replicates chicken strips. I sautéed my chickpeas, southwest chicken with onions, garlic, curry powder and my Kelp Seasoning by Braggs. My family loved this and even told me that it tastes great and tastes just like chicken. I am very pleased with my results you have no idea. I matched it with basmati rice and brown jasmine rice and I also sautéed some collard greens with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, ginger and a little raw brown sugar. A light meal for the summer and healthy as well.

Vegan Curry Chicken w/ Sundried Tomato Collard Greens
Vegan Curry Chicken w/ Sundried Tomato Collard Greens

5) BUTTERSCOTCH CUPCAKE WITH COCONUT BACON

HERE WE HAVE A BUTTERSCOTCH CUPCAKE WITH COCONUT BACONNNNNNNNNNNNN……WHAT? YES I SAID COCONUT BACON! Chef Reese at Seasoned Vegan is one of the best Vegan Pastry Chef’s I’ve encountered. Usually I am not a huge fan of sweets. You really will never see me buying pastry. I love to have a small sample of pastry, I won’t eat the entire thing. Anyway, this is the best cupcake ever. It’s so moist and just melts the right way. The coconut bacon is my favorite because it looks like bacon chips and gives you a slight taste of bacon. You definitely taste the coconut but this is everything to me. I am so happy that there are so many talented vegan chefs in New York City because I am able to try a variety of their talents. The fact that this has less ingredients than a regular dairy based cupcake and tastes 100x times better than it just blows my mind.

Butterscotch Cupcake w/Coconut Bacon
Butterscotch Cupcake w/Coconut Bacon

HAPPY VEGAN EATING!!

Beet Tartare with Cashew Cheese

Beet TarTare with Cashew Cheese looks Yum-Mazing!!!

Vegan Food Addict

Beetroots, or beets as most of us like to call them, have a slightly sweet flavor and range in color from red to yellow. These root vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked; boiled, grilled, roasted or steamed; and in sweet and savory dishes. Beets are commonly consumed pickled and in borscht, a European beet soup (source). Thanks to their beautiful red-violet color, beets provide Betanin, a red glycosidic food dye derived from beet juice extract. This food dye is used in various frozen and dry products, and those with a short shelf life (source).

Providing antioxidants, detoxification assistance, and anti-cancer and inflammatory benefits, beets boast a variety of vitamins and nutrients (source). Raw beets are a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Folate, Manganese and Potassium, and a good source of Iron, Magnesium and Vitamin C (source). Raw beet greens, similar in taste to spinach, are also very…

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Baked Falafel with Quinoa Tabouli

Delicious My Favorite Falafel with Quinoa Tabouli

Little Vegan Bear

I freaking love falafel, and for some reason I’ve always enjoyed the baked kind more than the fried. Maybe it’s memories of greasy kebab shops with crispy oily falafels that leave a coating in your mouth. Maybe it’s the fact that you can put them in the oven and leave them be to do their thing without too much worry. Whatever the reason, they rock.

I actually made this recipe back in Gympie when we were living in the van. Oh, how it seems so long ago…cooking in our tiny fold out kitchen on the side of the road or in the bush. Those were the days! I didn’t have an oven then to bake them, but have since made the recipe again and enjoyed it as much.

What I liked about these is how moist they are, they don’t dry out even when baked. Rather than being like dry…

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TheVeganDivaCooks Breakfast

The McGriddle Sandwich

Hey Foodies!!! So, the other day I was craving a McGriddle sandwich but obviously I cannot eat that preservative and artificially meat based sandwich from McDonalds. I kept thinking to myself how could I make this happen while also being on a budget. I really wanted to make this and show people when you veganize certain foods, the outcome is great health wise. So, I went to my local health food store and bought organic pastry flour, vegan non-soy sausage, Daiya cheese and some organic extra firm tofu.

Now onto the recipe:

McGriddle Bread
1-2cups of Pastry Flour
1/2 cup of water
2 Tbsp of Raw Agave Nectar

(Don’t Forget to add Baking Powder)

McGriddle Batter
McGriddle Batter

Make sure when you are making this batter that it has a thick consistency but don’t overdo it! Place the batter mix into the pan by using three 3Tbsp for each slice of McGriddle bread.Once you are finished you will need a few more things for the next step:

For the tofu you need to cut it in thick “egg-like” blocks, sprinkle turmeric powder till the entire block of tofu is completely yellow.

Tofu Egg
Tofu Egg

Then sprinkle some chili powder over it then place it in a hot skillet with organic Olive oil. The sausage comes in a casing but when you take it out just slice it down the middle vertically and place it in a hot skillet using Organic Earth Balance butter till it becomes brown on both sides.

Vegan Artisanal Sausage
Vegan Apple-Sage Artisanal Sausage
Organic Earth Balance Butter
Organic Earth Balance Butter

Stacking Your McGriddle

First, get a plate and sprinkle some Raw Agave Nectar onto the middle of the plate. Place one slice of your bread onto the nectar that you have on your plate. Next, add your tofu-egg. You can add either one or two pieces. This really depends on your palette. After this I melted my Daiya cheese with my Organic Earth Balance butter in a skillet until it gave me a thick consistency then placed it on top of  my tofu-egg. Finally, we add the Apple-Sage Sausage, drizzle more Agave Nectar then place the bread on top

and

VOILA!!!!!

Vegan McGriddle vs Meatbased McGriddle
Vegan McGriddle (top) vs Meatbased McGriddle (bottom)

 WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT MY VEGAN MCGRIDDLE? PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!

Vegan Lunch in Harlem

The food you love, veganized. Is Seasoned Vegan’s motto. 

As you walk in you are drawn by the Harlem neighborhood mural inside of the entrance.

Harlem Night Sky Mural
Harlem Night Sky Mural
Seasoned Vegan Fruit Basket Mural
Seasoned Vegan Fruit Basket Mural
The Harlem Seasoned Vegan Stoop
The Harlem Seasoned Vegan Stoop Mural

Seasoned Vegan is known for their veganized soul food which was created by Mrs. Beener. Mrs. Beener and her son Aaron Beener are the owners of this vegan restaurant. Mrs Beener started cooking and eating vegan food for over 20 years. This restaurant serves a different theme of food on a daily basis (Tuesday-Sunday), they aren’t opened Mondays. I commend the Beeners for raising awareness by opening this vegan restaurant in this Harlem community where the “chicken spot” and food that is drenched in genetically modified artificial colors, trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup; which is known to be extremely detrimental to your health aiding in cancerous diseases. 

Now onto the Food Review:

Mac N' Cheese x Broccoli x "Fried Shrimp"
Mac N’ Cheese x Stewed Fish x Broccoli x Fried Shrimp

This dish was very different in comparison to what I usually have at SV. The fried shrimp which is made from organic fermented soy, has an interesting taste but still gives you the flavor of real shrimp. The stewed fish blew my mind. Mrs. Beener you have done it once again!! Mrs. Beener’s stewed fish is made out of fermented soy with seaweed as the “skin” on the sides. Her recipe is reminiscent of actual fish my mum would make on the weekends. It smells and tastes like real fish. I love the fact that Mrs. Brenda Beener can capture the flavors of non vegan food into vegan food. I’ve been to many vegan restaurants and they lack flavor in all honesty. If a lot of these places added more flavor and seasonings into their recipes they would have a lot more non vegan customers as well as potential vegan eaters as well.

Vegan Lunch Closeup
Vegan Lunch Closeup

 

 

Crawfish x Spinach Salad x Spinach Pesto Mozzarella Pasta
Crawfish x Spinach Salad x Spinach Pesto Mozzarella Pasta

That crawfish is MMMMMMMHMN GOOD and I need this recipe because the seasonings make you feel as if you’re eating seafood. It’s made out of burdock root (a rooted vegetable) which has a lot of health benefits such as: anti-inflammatory and stunting the growth of cancer cells. I really enjoyed eating this dish because the spinach pesto pasta was just amazing. The Daiya cheese blended in so well you couldn’t tell if it was dairy or not. Thank you Katie for making this pasta, it was BOMB.COM

Vegan Mac N' Cheese
Vegan Mac N’ Cheese

I am absolutely head over heels over the Mac N’ Cheese at Seasoned Vegan. This is one of their staple dishes at Seasoned Vegan which is a best seller. People come in wanting and craving the Mac N’ Cheese every day.

I’m so happy to be working at a place that is found in an urban community. People of color need to eat healthier. Brenda and Aaron are doing a fantastic job in bringing the community together to eat well-seasoned delicious vegan food that is made with love.

Please come visit at: 55 Saint Nicholas Avenue (West 113th Street) New York, NY

Veganism & Depression

B12Vegan
B12Vegan Photo by veganhousewives.com  

Veganism is a great lifestyle to adapt to. The health benefits are great and you lessen the chances of heart disease if you follow the appropriate veganism lifestyle. I never mentioned this to anyone but when I became vegan, the first few months were great. My body responded very well to this new lifestyle. As each day went on I noticed at one point I became depressed and filled with anxiety. I was wondering why I was feeling so lethargic because the first few months I was feeling great and happy. I started doing some research and talking to a few doctors. I knew prior to that those feelings I was having were symptoms of depression.

Say No To Depression
Say No To Depression

During that time I was hospitalized and the doctors ran some tests on me and my vitamin D was significantly low as well as some other vitamin levels. My doctor stated I needed some sort of dairy and meat. At that point I knew that I had to take it into my own hands.

Vitaminb12 Benefits
Vitaminb12 Benefits

Self-research is always important because you know how well your body responds to certain things. I found many articles on vegans and their need for extra doses of Vitamin b-12 and Vitamin D. Within those articles, I also read there are millions of people that have low levels of these vitamins. Many dairy products allegedly contain these vitamins but with the cost of your health. When you lack vitamin b-12 you also deal with the chances of memory loss, fatigue and other body harming stressors. The only way to up the levels of your vitamins is to consume fortifying plant based foods such as: hemp milk, nutritional yeasts, nori, seaweed and other holistic green foods. You can also purchase vitamin supplements but be cautious of the synthetic vs non-synthetic vitamin supplements. Always do your research prior to purchasing anything. There are way too many synthetic supplements in stores that will prevent you from really getting the proper nutrients you need from them. Let’s come together and help each other gain the proper knowledge and nutrients so that we can live longer. I want to lessen the amount of heart and mental disease issues in our country so spreading the word is just the first step.

Stay tuned….

Operation Happy
Operation Happy

The Sri Lanka Experience

Galle, Sri Lanka
Galle, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a country found in Southern Asia/ South of India. They are well-known for their curries and their aromatic Indian spices. In Sri Lankan culture they eat a number of different foods stemming from: Lamprais, Kotthu Roti, Jackfruit, String Hoppers, Pittu, Kiribath and a dessert called Wattalapam. I have been to Sri Lanka a few times due to the fact I have in-laws from Sri Lanka. It’s a beautiful country that remains under-looked and there is so much to explore.

So fast forward…. I have been craving Sri Lankan food for months but I haven’t had anyone who was up to go to the Sri Lankan restaurant until my mum said she wanted to go there for her birthday. We went to Banana Leaf NYC located on 28th street. By the way, typical Sri Lankan decor contains a stone red, green and orange colors.

Sri Lankan Paintings
Sri Lankan Paintings
Banana Leaf NYC Decor
Banana Leaf NYC Decor
Sri Lankan Wedding Tradition On The Menu
Sri Lankan Wedding Tradition On The Menu

NOW ONTO THE FOOD!!!!!

Banana Leaf Vegetable Lamprais
Banana Leaf Vegetable Lamprais

When I  first visited Sri Lanka I saw my family eat this but I never tried it before. I made sure that this was going to be one of the dishes I ordered this time. The vegetable lamprais contains: jackfruit, plantain, curried potatoes, cashews, saffron rice with coconut and traditional Sri Lankan spices. All of these items are baked in a plantain banana leaf.

Vegetable Lamprais
Vegetable Lamprais
Vegetable Lamprais
Vegetable Lamprais

NEXT

I ordered the String Hoppers which was one of my favorite dishes that comes with a spicy coconut sambol. Sambol is a “dressing” that is made of chopped coconut and Sri Lankan spices. The String Hoppers are made with rice flour from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has the best spices and red grain rice that I have ever had. While I was in Sri Lanka I lost quite a bit of weight due to my diet consisting of nothing but vegetables and grains.

String Hoppers & Coconut Sambol
String Hoppers & Coconut Sambol
String Hoppers
String Hoppers

I absolutely enjoyed revisiting Sri Lanka by reliving the experience at Banana Leaf. Every single bite of the food made me happy. Of course the level of spiciness isn’t for the weak. You must be very open to eating curries and flaming spices. Be prepared to have lots of water by your side if you try this food. There are also rotis (fried/baked bread) that resembles pita which tastes absolutely amazing and you can enjoy that with a coconut sambol or a mango chutney of your choice.

ENJOY!!

Vegan Myths

photo 3-1

Vegans need meat.

photo 1

This is false. People who are vegans tend to have lower cholesterol levels, less BMI (Body Mass Index) and less chances of having hypertension. If you’re a true vegan you definitely lessen your chances of having a lot of diseases and vegan cancer rates are lower than those who consume meat.Vegans get their proteins from vegetables, herbal powders and legumes.

Being vegan is unhealthy for you.

– If you’re a vegan who consumes a lot of frozen vegan foods and aren’t really monitoring what you eat then it CAN be unhealthy. True vegans consume the proper vegetables , fruits, protein , good carbs and good fat to maintain a healthy body. The health benefits of being vegan overall is great.

Vegans are bony, weak and lack energy. Being vegan is too much work.
Vegans eat boring food.

– In order to put these myths to rest, I really would prefer if people did their research instead of using their own theories that are FALSE. There are a lot of vegans that are muscular and some even body build. We get our energy from Earth foods, water and consuming foods or supplements with Omega-3 fatty acids. Vegan foods aren’t boring and it’s not too much work.

Just like any entrees you prepare for dinner or breakfast, you have step by step processes. I just feel like people just don’t want to make an effort to prepare something that lacks meat products… People are entirely afraid of eating healthier. Just like meat, vegan foods need to be seasoned and made well. Everything is based on the person who is cooking the food. There are tons of fun recipes listed on this site if you want an idea of non-boring vegan foods.

Veganism is expensive.

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This is tricky. I say yes and no. Yes because if you decide to buy solely organic foods and the prices are very expensive at your food market, then yes it will turn out to be costly. If you buy from your local markets, co-ops , farmers markets and buy some organic vegan products you will pay either less or the average amount non vegans pay for their groceries. So it basically depends on the prices of the products you purchase at your markets, purchasing items in bulk also helps.

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The main point of this myth post is to encourage people to do more research on the lives of vegans instead of judging us for eating healthier. Whether you’re vegan or not your body NEEDS fruits, vegetables, vitamins, amino acids and good fats. Consuming nothing but trans-fats and anything with hydrogenation will kill your organs.

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MORE RESEARCH. LESS JUDGEMENT. MORE HEALTHIER DECISIONS.