Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cruzer Pizza

I seem to be obsessed with pizza lately, which is funny because before I went vegan I wasn't a huge pizza fan. Now that the husband is trying out veganism, it's a lot more fun exploring new places around the city to eat.

Last weekend we decided to head out to Echo Park and try Cruzer Pizza, a 100% plant based pizzeria featuring amazing pizza (duh), pasta, sandwiches and salads. They have classic combos like Hawaiian with pineapple and vegan ham and all "meat" featuring a variety of vegan meats. I went with the veggie loaded with mushrooms, bell peppers, olives, spinach, onions, fresh garlic and I added vegan pepperoni. The dude went for the all meat (manly).

We took our pizzas over to Griffith Park (Cruzer is take out/delivery only) and had a lovely impromptu picnic with the dogs.

This wasn't the absolute best pizza I have ever tried in my life, but it was pretty damn good. With all those veggies and Daiya cheese, you can't really go wrong; plus I love supporting local vegan businesses, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sayonara Nasty Cooking Machine of Death

I've recently started to loath my microwave for a couple reasons. One being the fact that it takes up way too much counter space in my already tiny kitchen and another is just the incredibly icky feeling I get anytime I stick food in there and turn it on. I began to wonder why my natural instincts were kicking in, screaming at me to back away from the microwave, so I decided to do a little research.

After scouring the internet I have made the commitment to ditch my microwave (BTW if you're reading this honey, we're getting rid of the microwave).

There are a lot of conflicting view points. One study shows that microwaves change the molecular structure of your food and that in turn changes the cellular activity in your body making cancer a high risk. This particular study is highly ridiculed and challenged for not being peer-reviewed or published in any scientific journals. If you do a google search you'll find numerous articles backing both sides of the argument.

I honestly don't know which argument I believe, but I have to go with my gut on this one. Overall I am trying to adapt a healthier, whole foods diet and eliminating microwaved foods just falls in line with it. Besides, any food that REQUIRES a microwave for cooking can't be that good for you.

Yes, my life may be a little less convenient without my microwave, but the few extra minutes it will take to heat something on the stove and wash that extra pot are worth my piece of mind (AND extra counter space!).

What are your personal thoughts on microwaves?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Gentle Barn

I heard about The Gentle Barn a few months ago when I was trying to track down a vegan hot dog vendor Frankenstand. I instantly wanted to go visit and finally got the chance to today.

The Gentle Barn is an amazing rescue and rehabilitation facility for farm animals who have been saved from all manners of abuse. Even though these animals have been treated horribly by humans and gone through unspeakable torture in some cases, they are all so loving and trusting. It's an amazing experience to look into the eyes of a cow or goat and see their sweet loving soul. Each animal at the barn has a unique story and the volunteers do an amazing job informing the visitors of how the animal was rescued and the progress they have made. Every one should visit this place, it's a truly transformative experience.

This was my first time getting close to a cow and I was a little shy at first but Buttercup was so very sweet she eased my worries. She even nuzzled me with her nose like my dogs do.

This is Buddha, another super sweet girl.

Next we moved on to the upper barn where llamas, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys and even emus live in harmony together. King the llama was found wandering the desert, thirsty and starving. He was a bit shy but I tried to make friends.

My favorite guy had to be Yoda, the emu. He was so cool and calm and kept falling asleep as we were petting him.

The husband fell in love with Sophie, a goat who was rescued from an abusive petting zoo. Another mellow girl who loves a good neck scratch.

We ended our visit with an awesome vegan hot dog from Frankenstand (which I have been wanting to try for the past 8 months!) and it was delish!

I took so many more pictures, too many to post here, but these captured our experience here today perfectly. If you can't visit The Gentle Barn in person, check out their website where you can read each animal's story, donate and even sponsor a specific animal. It's an amazing organization and every little bit helps!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Chip Belgian Waffles

Last Sunday morning my husband (formerly known as the omnivore) woke up craving vegan waffles. Instead of wasting time searching the internet for a place in L.A. that serves vegan waffles and then wasting even more time looking for parking, I decided to make some. Luckily we got a pretty awesome waffle maker as a wedding gift and every once in awhile it actually gets used.

I had a recipe for vegan waffles that I found on vegweb (which my comp will not let me access right now for some reason), but I decided to alter it a bit. They turned out scrumptious!

What you'll need:
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 TBSP organic sugar
1/2 TSP baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 banana
1/2 cup almond milk (plus 2-3 TBSP more)
1/4 cup earth balance vegan butter
1 TSP vanilla extract
2 TBSP apple sauce
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Yields 4 yummy waffles.

1. Turn on waffle maker. If it's not non-stick, then lightly spray with oil.

2. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl.

3. In separate bowl, mash the banana with a fork and then add 1/2 cup almond milk and combine with banana. Add the earth balance and continue to combine until all are mixed together. Add vanilla extract and apple sauce and mix some more. Mixture will be slightly chunky.

4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine well. Mix in chocolate chips. If the batter is too thick add a couple TBSP almond milk until it's a little bit thicker than pancake batter. You don't want it too runny.

5. Spoon batter onto waffle iron and cook for about 5 minutes.

Embellish with sliced fruit like bananas or strawberries, douse in organic agave syrup and ENJOY! A perfect Sunday morning breakfast.