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Chocolate Easter Egg Date Balls!

Happy (almost) Easter everyone! We started thinking about what we could do to celebrate Easter with a fun sweet treat – only sans the uber refined sugar. We each love date balls and thought it would be cute to roll them into Easter egg shapes instead of round balls. So that’s what we did! I made these around Christmas this past year (only instead of shredded coconut coating them it was powdered sugar–eek major headache!) and everyone loved them. They taste more like brownie bites actually than dates. They’re so easy to make too!

dateballs

Chocolate Easter Egg Date Balls

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted unsalted whole almonds

2/3 cup cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)

15 pitted dates

1 tbs raw agave nectar or honey

3 tbs water (you may need to add more)

coconut flakes for coating them

Directions:

Process nuts in high speed blender until ground up. Add everything else except coconut flakes. Add water as needed until it is a good consistency to mold into balls (or egg shapes in this Easter-y case).Make balls using about 1 tbs worth of mix. Roll in coconut flakes and eat up!

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Tofu Pumpkin Pie

Don’t you guys just love pumpkin? Well, I really do! It just brings me right into Fall-making me think of family gatherings and good times. I’d been craving pumpkin pie since Halloween and figured I should have a go at making it. I found a few recipes online and decided to use one I found on VegWeb here.  I’ve made this pie 3 different times since Halloween. 2 for Jason and I to share at home, and 1 for an LSU football party at my mom and step-dad’s house-and Jenn made one in Memphis as well. Each time, I ate way more than I should have and I believe my sister said she did the same. But that’s the fun in the season, right? Pumpkin is only appropriate to eat during this time of year, so why not go all in?! 🙂 We plan on making 1 or 2 of these for our own veggie Thanksgiving next week! I hope you guys try this recipe! You won’t regret it. Plus, the ONLY bad ingredient in here is the sugar-which can be cut in half and still be deeeelicious if you ask our opinion. We each used pre-made whole wheat crusts-but we’d love to hear your suggestions for yummy homemade crusts that we could use to impress everyone next week!

Tofu Pumpkin Pie (copied from VegWeb)

1 (16-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar or sucanat OR 1/2 cup maple syrup
1 (10- to 12-ounce) package silken soft tofu (we actually used 1 package of firm Mori-Nu and it was great. Don’t use the low fat tofu, then the pie tastes like it was made with tofu.)
2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch (to firm up the pie filling)
1 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (9-inch) unbaked vegan pie shell (we used organic whole wheat pre-made crusts for ours)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Blend the pumpkin and sugar. Thoroughly mix in tofu, cornstarch, and spices (allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cloves).
3. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes.
4. Lower heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 60 minutes. Chill and serve.

Preparation Time: 
about 1 hour + chilling time, Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 
1 hour 15 minutes
Servings:  8
Again, please feel free to share with us your own yummy homemade pie crust ideas!
We’d love to try it!


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Going Bananas Over Ice Cream!

So I know this is the oldest trick in the vegan book-but I had to post about it in case anyone hadn’t yet tried this- and maybe I’m reminding you of it! Or maybe you’ve never even heard of it.  Blended up frozen bananas=instant ice cream! Well, almost instant. If you don’t count the time it takes to freeze the bananas. Anywho, that’s it. Healthy home-made ice cream can be yours! You can simply just freeze bananas and blend! (you may need to add a little water or milk of your choice). Or you can get all fancy schmancy with it! Tonight I made a popular blend-It’s just simply good. Bananas, peanut butter, and cocoa powder. Done. Sold. I’m always in! And here’s how I do it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Naner Ice Cream (2 servings)

1.5-2 frozen bananas

2-3 T cocoa powder

1 large T peanut butter of your choice

1/4 cup Water/Nut milk of your choice

1/2 a handful of almonds/nuts-if desired

Freeze your bananas. I usually keep frozen bananas in my freezer for my morning green smoothies-so if you do not, remember to freeze those naners tonight! Also, I usually cut mine up before freezing in a container. Once frozen, throw them into your blender. Add everything-except the water or nut milk. Blend. Check it out, move it around, add some liquid. Blend. Check it out-add liquid and blend to desired consistency. You may not even need all the water or milk. Pour in a bowl-enjoy!

Do any of you have a favorite banana ice cream concoction? Comment and let us know! We’d love to try it!

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Nola Veggie Fest & Surprise Cookie Dough Dip!

So I wanted to tell you guys about this past weekend. May 12 & 13 was NOLA Veggie Fest! Me, Jason, my sister Jenn, her boyfriend Chris, and our mom and step-dad all went on Saturday. It was heaven for us really. An entire building with booths full of veggie-related samples and treats and drinks! We each got a huge Peta bag as part of getting in and we filled them with pamphlets and coupons and samples. Not to mention each of us were walking around with both hands and arms filled with food we were tasting. So awesome! And everyone was so nice! One of the things that Jenn and I had on our must-do was to see Ellen Jaffe Jones speak (author of Eat Vegan on $4 a Day). And we did! We even met her and chatted for a bit before and after she spoke. She signed my book and it was just fabulous! She was great and even shared a photo of us with her and our blog on her Facebook page a few days ago! While we were talking to her she said something that always resonates with me when I hear it- and is so important. We were talking about how far along vegetarianism and veganism has come over the years and she mentioned how we each get 3 votes a day when it comes to our food. It’s so true. 11 or so years ago when Jenn and I first gave up meat, it was difficult to find anything on any menu that we could eat without having to alter it. And now today-pick almost any restaurant and you can find at least 2 or more vegetarian options right off the bat! Now, being vegan, we usually have to ask them to leave off cheese or cook vegetables without the butter, etc. But it’s coming. Restaurants are definitely familiar with what vegan means now and cater to it without hesitation-usually. And that’s how it happens-supply and demand. Ask for it and don’t be afraid.

Here’s the photo we took with Ellen:

Anywho, I also wanted to share a recipe with you guys. For Mother’s Day-which was a very lovely day might I add, my mom made the famous delicious Engine 2 Sweet Potato Lasagna for the family and I brought a little cookie dough dessert dip. Both were a hit! I saw this while perusing Chocolate-Covered Katie’s vegan dessert blog-which is amazing, check her out here. You would never even guess what was in this dip by tasting it!

Looks scrumptious, right? Well it totally is! Let’s do this!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

(here it is on her blog)

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/8 tsp salt (I used sea salt)
  • tiny bit over 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 T of a nut butter. If you use peanut butter, it’ll have a very-slight “pb cookie dough” taste. Almond butter gives it a more neutral dough taste.
  • up to 1/4 cup soy or almond milk (Start with 1 T, and add more as needed)
  • Sweetener (see note below, for amount)-I used agave nectar and just added some and tasted until I was happy with it. You won’t need too much.
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (I used Whole Foods’ Vegan Chocolate Chips)
  • 2 to 3 T  flaxmeal
  • Graham Crackers for dipping (Unless you’re a bee-gan, find some without Honey hehe)

Add all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) to a good food processor (not blender), and blend until very smooth. Then mix in the chocolate chips.

Sweetener Notes from Choc. Covered Katie: Sweetener Notes: I used 2/3 cup brown sugar when I first made this for the party. Liquid sweeteners (agave, maple, etc.) are fine as well, as is evaporated cane juice. You can easily get away with less sugar– some people will be perfectly fine with just 3 T for the whole recipe! And if you don’t want any sugar, be sure to check out the “no-sugar” version linked above. (You can also use stevia, if you like the taste of stevia-sweetened desserts. Try 2-3 packets of NuNaturals stevia, and add more sweetener if needed. I wouldn’t recommend serving an all-stevia version to party guests, though.)

*Also-as a side note from me-I have seen recipes similar to this where instead of sugar or agave nectar, they used dates to sweeten it up a bit. I’ll try that next time I grab some dates at the grocery.

Let me know if you guys try this!

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Chocolate Chia Pudding!

Ok so I feel like I have been hearing about chia seeds for the last year or so but I hadn’t tried them until recently. They have always intrigued me but I never splurged on them because usually it’s at least $10-$20 for a bag of them and I tend to be frugal…Nevertheless, I knew they came jam-packed with disease fighting nutrients and I am so happy to have finally bought a bag ($10 for a 15oz bag of Whole Foods’ 365 brand-well worth it!). They’re actually considered a Superfood due to their high nutrient content! They are full of both soluble and insoluble fiber and therefore help you to sustain energy and maintain fullness (and help you to become, digestively-speaking, “regular” -but I’ll save that glorious topic for another post :)~). They also help to balance out your blood sugar and induce weight loss. “Chia” happens to be the word for “strength” in the Mayan language. According to Brendan Frazier’s book, “Thrive”, “Aztec warriors were rumored to eat chia before going into battle to give them a nutritional boost and thereby improve their endurance. They were also said to have carried it with them when they ran long distances to be used as their body’s primary food source.”(Thrive, pg. 123).  One really cool thing about these seeds is the versatility in which you can use them. I’ve thrown them into our salads and home-made veggie burgers and even my no-tuna salad sandwich that I made this week (https://sproutnewroots.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/fish-are-friends-not-food/). They can be used as an egg substitute in baking as well. Seriously, guys-Google this teeny tiny power-packed seed and sneak it into your everyday meals!

Here are a few little nutritional facts about this powerful little seed:

-Chia contains 2x the amount of protein in any other seed or grain

-5x the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones

-2x the amount of potassium in bananas

-3x the antioxidant strength of blueberries

-3x more iron than spinach

-copius amounts of Omega 3 and Omega 6

I actually started eating chia seeds as my breakfast at work. I take about 1 tablespoon of them and mix it into either a glass of almond or soy milk or water. You have to mix it up really well -every 5 minutes or so-over a period of 20-30 minutes so that the seeds don’t clump up. Once they sit in liquid for that long, they form a gel-like texture (think tapioca pudding) and you eat/drink it! They have such a mild taste too so you really don’t notice anything but the texture and a slight little crunch-which i love for some reason.

Anywho, while I have been altering my diet over the last year, I have gradually phased out my needing to have something sweet after EVERY meal. Yea-talk about sugar addiction-not pretty. Now I reserve dessert as an occasional treat, and when I do partake in it, it’s usually savory and rich and I try not to overindulge. I’d rather a small bit of something rich and amazing than a ton of something that’s super sweet-which brings me to this Chocolate Chia Pudding post! This stuff is amazing, guys! And it isn’t too sweet-but rather it’s rich with cocoa flavor! So far I’ve made individual tea-cup sized servings of this for Jason and I. It’s his new favorite thing I make by the way. He’s a little obsessed. 🙂

Chocolate Chia Pudding  (1 individual tea-cup sized serving)

4-8 ounces of almond milk (or soy or whatever plant-based milk you prefer-vanilla flavored ones add extra sweetness)

2 Tablespoons of chia seeds

1.5-2 tablespoons of cocoa powder (you can use carob powder or cacao)

1 teaspoon raw agave nectar (or honey)

Toppings of your choice (I have used vegan chocolate chips and also strawberries)

Mix the seeds and liquid really well with a fork so that every seed gets wet. Add in the cocoa powder and agave nectar and mix. The cocoa powder tends to be a pain to mix in as it stays dry until you really get it going. Don’t give up though-it’ll take! Put in the fridge for about 20 minutes or longer (you can even leave it overnight). Over the course of the first 30 minutes, go re-stir the mixture a few times. Then, eat up when you’re ready!

How do y’all like to eat chia seeds? Do share 🙂

 

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