Quinoa Cauliflower Plate with Peanut Sriracha Sauce

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 Hey everyone … I finally MOFO’d!!! (It was definitely in September I SWEAR.)

I won’t lie to you, I have never actually made my own vegan meal before. That’s crazy right?! I have always just thought they would take a lot of time to prepare and I normally don’t have all of the ingredients that are necessary for them. When September rolled around Jenny told me about “Vegan Month of Food” and recommended that I try out a vegan recipe. I was definitely up for the challenge and then I found out that the recipe I made…wasn’t challenging! I was actually really proud of myself by the time it was done, and I like to cook, so I was happy during the entire preparation process.

I stumbled upon this recipe from Vegan Richa via Jen. She’s been following her (beautiful) blog for quite some time and now I am going to make it one of my favorite blogs too!

 For some reason I never seem to remember how much I love cauliflower until it happens to be in a dish that I make. I know that it’s really good for you, but I think I always find it to be daunting  when I see it in the grocery store and figure I’ll never finish the whole head. After preparing the cauliflower for this recipe I have continued to make it that way up until it was all gone. Hurray! This vegetable is just so versatile that I actually found myself saying “wait…save that because you could use it for this dish instead”. 

 I also love collard greens, but I find that I have a harder time figuring out how to prepare them as well. I have only ever had them once before this, and it was when my Step-Mother prepared them (oh, they were delicious) for us when my parents were living in South Carolina. I like the bitterness of the leaf as well as feeling like I am eating something good for me. Lettuce can be tricky sometimes! Anyway, this was also very easily prepared – just throw your greens into a pan with a smidge of sesame oil, pinch of garlic salt and a pinch of salt and you just wait until they are a bit wilted. Done! Delicious! 

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I’d made quinoa before, and while this was an easy preparation it never occurred to me to add things in while it was cooking. I don’t know why though, I guess it’s only because I never add anything to rice while it’s cooking and I make them the same way? The world may never know. 

The only thing that was REALLY intimidating me throughout this experiment was the Peanut sauce. On Richa’s site the recipe originally called for almond butter, which I neglected to purchase. Luckily Richa mentioned that the almond butter could be substituted for with peanut butter! I love peanut butter! 

I would definitely make this recipe again. It was a hit with everyone who tried it out and it was extraordinarily easy to make. I also think it has enough flavor but isn’t too intrusive so everyone can give it a taste without fear of disliking it. Thanks Richa! I will certainly be browsing her blog for more delicious recipes sometime soon. 

*Note: I actually had extra food after making this meal, which was great! I saved some for Mr. Ian to bring to work for lunch, and the rest I saved for myself for lunch! The only thing I didn’t have leftover after giving Ian his portion was the collared greens, and this recipe is so simple that all I had to do was throw it in the pan with some garlic powder and oil and it was done in just a few minutes. I was so so pleased with the overall outcome of this dish.

 

Sunday Reading 10-12-14 #8

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Sorry guys about the crazy stuff going on with the site the few days. Yesterday my host went down, and has been running slow in general. Then this morning the database disappeared and I was slightly worried I lost everything. Which wouldn’t of been cool.

Because of that, I didn’t get to post my most recent “Alexa Asks”, which is about calcium and your milks. And poor Alexa has been trying her cauliflower recipe that she originally made for Vegan Mofo. But they will most likely show up sometime next week.

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What’s the Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes and yams were always a confusing matter for me. I remember being told that yams were totally different from sweet potatoes, and should never be subbed in a recipe. But the more I learned about the produce I was cooking with the more I got confused. I could taste or see a difference between sweet potatoes and yams. What’s the deal? The Kitchn settles the potato vs yam debate, and clears up why you are confused about it.

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Be the Deal Breaker: Multiply Your Influence at Non-Vegan Restaurants

Eating out can be scary when you are a vegan. There are lots of questions to ask, and lots of modifications to be made. But Liz Dee write about how you can make a bigger impact by being more vocal. I’ve worked at a restaurant, and I know how annoying special requests can be. But I understand completely that some people simply can’t eat certain things.  But no one is going to know that there are more vegans if you simply ask for replace yogurt with soy milk in your smoothie.

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I’m Sick of Nutrition Elitism!

Lindsay over at Happy Herbavore wrote a great article about nutritional elitism. She relates it specifically with veganism, and I know it has directly related to me. There is a difference between encouraging people to eat organic and scaring them to eat organic. Working at a health food restaurant I’ve seen the miserably strict. They never seemed too happy and I always wondered if it was because they were so strict with their diets. Our bodies are strong, and eating non-organic, GMO foods isn’t going to kill us.

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What Kids Around the World Eat

I love learning about what people around the world eat. Breakfast is growing to be my favorite meal to learn about. I actually do not like breakfast, sometimes I’ll treat my husband to pancakes or french toast, but I can safely never eat pancakes for the rest of my life and be okay with it. In the west breakfast is usually filled with preserved dairy and meat produces. Things that are easy to prepare. But looking at the food served across the globe, some of the plates have more veggies present and a couple look vegan even! 

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Last Week Tonight: Columbus Day

I’ve never fully cared about Monday holidays. When you work in retail or food, you are usually open. So Columbus Day is usually a day when my husband complains that I don’t have off. But more and more states are choosing to swap it out for a different holiday, mostly celebrating the people who were living in America before Columbus came. 

Our 100th Post!

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Shirt & Dress: H&M ‘Vintage’ | Tights: Gifted | Shoes: Modcloth

It has been so long since either of us have posted a fashion post! Part of it was because of Vegan Mofo, another part was just because I was being lazy over the summer. It isn’t my time to dress up, it is more like “what’s clean and coolest?” Well, Alexa came to Philly with me and we took some pictures of our CUTE outfits in a reconstructed herb garden in Old City. (Old City is the area where you will find Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell) Then we went to HipCityVeg for lunch, which was pretty awesome!

But my main reason for posting is that this is our 100th post! I can’t believe how far this blog has come already, and that I posted so much! I remember having the idea for the blog stewing in my mind for a year or so, and just never getting around to it. And yes, there are things I haven’t developed as much as I hoped, but it is still growing. So in this post I will talk about what we plan on working on with the blog:

Weekly Recipes & Alexa Asks

After Vegan Mofo, I kind-of started to get into the habit of making at least 1 recipe a week. And I want to keep that momentum going. Even if that means the recipe is just a smoothie, or cocktail. I think I have enough going on, and enough random weeknight improvisation going on to add new recipes that often. 

I also want to keep posting Alexa Asks every week. I have lots of questions from Alexa, or from other friends and people. Hopefully some people will be happy to post questions to be answered in future posts as well!

Monthly Ingredients, Recipe Round Ups and Cookbook Reviews

I’ve only done one cookbook review and one recipe round up, but that doesn’t mean I am not working on new ones. I have some recipe round ups started, and only a few more recipes to add to it. I also have started a detailed review of Vegan Eats World, and starting Isa Does It. So hopefully you guys will like that. 

Also pages explaining ingredients was going to be a big part of the site, and I have been super lazy about that. But I am going to work on it again, and I have three foods coming up: Gochujang, Cushaw, and Tomatillos. I hope at least one or more of those ingredients is making you raise an eyebrow! Alexa will be drawing cute pictures to go with them as well!

Alexa and I have some ideas for different features. We will keep them secret for now. But some sneak peaks will be themes like Sailor Moon month (wut?!) or Korean food month. There will be lots more, we will keep a little hush hush about it

Updated Shop

Hopefully I will get around to adding more to our little Etsy Shop. You can buy prints of drawings from the site, and I will be making sure they are constantly updated when we add new ones. We also have much more milk glass bud vases and vintage clothing to add. We want to have much more jewelry, shirts, etc featuring our food doodles. 

Moving off of Bloglovin

Okay, so this is a little weird one which really doesn’t effect the blog. Some people might of seen me, Jennifer, active on Bloglovin. If I stop following you, it doesn’t mean I stopped reading your blog. I am just trying to transition into Feedly. My computer is a little older and the Bloglovin format slows my computer down. I also like reading blogs on my tablet, and Bloglovin’s app totally messes up formatting. 

Our blog is still easy to follow via Bloglovin and our button link will stay over there. Truthfully, there are more foodies who use feedly, and we have over 150 followers on THAT platform, so why not make the switch?

Updating Our Side Bar

Yeah we need to do that. I think I need to make changes with our social media links, and blog links. Oh man those are outdated. There are so many new blogs I would love to link, and maybe divide them up by categories (fashion, food, feminism, etc) Maybe expand our social media outlets, though I am not sure what other people use. 

So those are our big plan. What do you guys think?

Spiced Pumpkin Carriage + Pumpkin Spice Syrup Recipe

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Everyone is pumpkin crazy anymore. It is pretty much pointless to deny it any longer- you need more pumpkin in your life. I think our current obsession might be because all the kids who grow up loving Halloween. So we reach and grab things vaguely related to Halloween that are more adult- like horror movie marathons. Or costume runs in graveyards. I feel like we clutch to pumpkins because of jack o’ lanterns. Maybe not. But I am not going to stop eating them.

I thought I would take it up a notch and make a drink just for vegans with pumpkins: The Spiced Carriage. There are two secrets to the cocktail- homemade pumpkin spice syrup and Snap. Snap is a spirit made by Art in the Age of Reproduction. They have several spirits that are inspired by old practices or traditions from American settlers. Snap has the perfect mix of spices that give the drink an extra depth. You can buy it online with Hi-Time Wine or you can search their store locator.

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Alexa came down to visit, and I knew I had to give her this cocktail. I also wanted to brainstorm names. I haven’t been too creative with food names, and cocktails usually have names that are more fun. Alexa came up with “The Spicy Ginger (Babe)” but my husband voted for my more fairytaled themed “Spiced Pumpkin Carriage”

I think I can safely say this is sort of like a Pumpkin Spice Latte in cocktail form. Okay there isn’t any coffee elements to it, but has that similar creamy and warm pumpkin feeling to it. Though I am now seeing that I could of put in a little Kona and gotten some yummy results. Oh well. Maybe next year…

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You’ll have to turn on the stove to make this cocktail. Well, you don’t have to, but if you want it to taste the best you should. I made a custom syrup for this drink, which can be used in coffee, or to sprinkle on top of desserts. Below is the recipe and you totally will want to make it ahead of time.

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Sunday Reading 10-05-14 #7

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Man, now that Vegan Mofo is over, my reading material has completely changed. Plus my mind has shifted gears. I am looking at old post drafts and thinking “Oh yeah, I should still post that!” But I think this week’s collection of reading materials really shows the shift. Yeah, some are vegan. Some aren’t. Some are VERY VERY not vegan. I debate how it relates to this blog even. But I just thought it was so cool that I had to share.

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Not All Who Blogs Bakes by Specs and the City

Melissa has a super cute photo collection of her recent baking journey. Not many words, but sometimes I think visuals are more powerful. I have a lot of beef with pinterest and blog. It creates weird standards. Perfect homes, crafts, cupcakes, holiday decor, clothes, drawings, cupcakes, cupcakes, oh and cupcakes. 

It seems that every blogger bakes and crafts, and that might not be everyone’s thing. It seems that there a cliches that are forming for female bloggers. Baking and fashion seems to go hand in hand. Melissa just made a photo series of her fight against blogging stereotypes rather that writing about it.

Side note- I am always down with ice cream and beer.

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The Future of Animal Rights & Vegan Teen Tips by The Vegan R.D

I think it is important that parents learn about veganism when their kids make the transition. There is a lot of confusion and myths that surround veganism, which can scare parents. Educating parents help keep them active with their children’s interest, and understand them better. It might not convert them, but might cut in their animal consumption.

The article gives some basic tips to make eating easier for teens. Parents can use the information for tips on what to look out for with their kids needs. Some tips are just for easy preparations. For example they suggest freezing extra grains for easy reheating. A tip that helps everyone out really.

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How to Dye Your Armpits by Offbeat Home

There seems to be a lot more buzz about armpit hair. I shave my armpits. I just don’t like the feel of hair there, and I have no idea how my husband bears it. I am fairly certain if I was a man I would still be shaving my armpits. But I really applaud women who are stepping up and are willing to let it all grow out because they just don’t like to shave there. It has become a HUGE social taboo. If I didn’t shave my legs, it would be okay. But armpits? It would make me a social outcast.

As I mentioned before, visuals can be louder than words. Something about saying “I want my armpits to match my cute hair” is a big smack in the face to social norms. It something that is really weird, but it looks so rad.

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Chinese Space Children Painting

I’ve got a weird soft spot for Soviet Realism and art for communist propaganda. Then there is the weird world of Chinese Space art. I’ve seen a few before, as a way to get children excited about space travel. But some paintings are simply put odd. Many include traditional gods and goddesses waving to children in space. Other make little to no sense, like a naked baby talking on the phone. This small collection is really fun, and I hope everyone else enjoys them as much as I do.

Yeah, this link has little to do with food, fashion, feminism, but it does have to do with art (my love) and little with Sailor Moon (both Alexa and my love). I mean Sailor Moon comes from a space colony from the moon. So these kids are just trying to find her. Right?

Jessica’s Feminized Atmosphere by The Daily Show

Both Alexa and I have had our fair share of cat calls when living in Philadelphia and New York City. Some people find it flattering, most don’t. I know that once I moved back to the burbs it really has made me paranoid. I cringe at thought of passing by men and construction sites on my walk to work. Most of the time it is honking from cars rather than shouts.

I love this short by Jessica Williams. She pokes a little fun at the situation, and brings some awareness of how messed up cat calling can get. And I can totally relate. I avoided walking by one side of a HOSPITAL since I was constantly being harassed by the men. Seriously, a hospital.

I remember having even guys at my school get cat called by other men. This really creeped them out, and probably helped them understand how girls feel. I mean shouldn’t they feel complimented that all these guys think they look good? Duh, no. It’s creepy and annoying. Yes, some people like it, but most people don’t. 

Alexa Asks, Jen Answers #3: Protein, man, protein!

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Alexa is working toward a vegetarian diet, and is loaded with questions. Jennifer’s got answers. We talk about anything as long as it is vegan. Are tattoos vegan? How do I politely not eat Thanksgiving dinner? How do I order without pissing off the waitress? We know you are dying to ask!

asksalexaHow much protein do I REALLY need? How concerned should I be about my daily protein intake?

The first question any vegetarians and vegans alike get asked is “Where do you get your protein?” Americans in particular are obsessed about protein, especially when it comes to animals based-protein. Oddly no one asks the average American where they get their fiber and vitamins.

The average female needs 45-60 grams of protein while males need 50-70 grams. The number might seem high, but it is easy to reach these numbers. Many people get scared about protein intake since we are taught that to look at food in rigid categories- proteins, carbs, fats, etc. The US government reenforces this with their food pyramid and my plate. Both are charts with specific categories. Well there is technically protein in your vegetables and grains. More than what you might expect.

Let’s pretend you ate 15 bananas in one day. That would roughly be 2,000 calories, assuming if the bananas were big. That is the recommended calories the average woman consumes. She would of consumed 25 grams of protein, which is over half the required amount for the day. No, that’s not enough, but probably more than what you were expecting. And once you add all the numbers up, you’ll hit your protein requirements fast.

If you are worried about your protein, try downloading an app to your phone. Keeping track of what you eat for a few days will give you an idea how much protein you end up eating. Then you can decide if you need to eat more or less protein. There are various apps, whether it be a calorie counter, protein counter, etc that will keep track on basic nutritional information. 

Why does protein get so much attention? Well, it might be because active people obsess over protein intake. If you talk to anyone in crossfit or weight lifting you will get a first hand experience with the obsession. They aren’t wrong though. The more muscle you tear, the protein you’ll need to heal yourself.

But take two things into consideration. One is that the more calories you burn, the more you’ll eat. Which means more protein consumed. The second point is that certain forms of exercise require more protein. Workouts that are heavier in cardio and endurance need more carbs for energy levels, while weight lifting or “power” workouts will need more protein to build muscle.

So where does it leave you, the average person? Truthfully, the average American doesn’t need much protein if they have a very seditary lifestyle. But you may want to amp up your protein on days were you are particularly active, like moving days, or yoga class. If you notice your muscles are consistently soar after workouts, upping your protein may help.

And always remember there is such a thing as too much protein. Just like anything you eat, too much is bad.

Baked Tomatillo Tofu

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I am a little sad that I didn’t post this recipe during Vegan Mofo. But I am glad I participated, because it was tons of fun. We hit 20 posts this month (whooo group effort!) and we will be back next year, with hopefully a better theme. Maybe we will make a month of just ingredient pages! That was something I wanted to make a big focus on the blog and just haven’t gotten around to.

I am thinking I should be making pages for Tomatillos and Gochujang since there are a few recipes that use it on the site. They aren’t fully normal ingredients. And try and find a recipe for tomatillos that aren’t salsa verde related? Forget about it! This year my CSA has some great tomatillos and I’ve been unsure what to do with them. It is quite possibly the most frustrating thing. I have made Tomatillo and Chickpea Curry, which was pretty tasty. Now I take tomatillos in a totally different direction- sweet and savory.

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I think the reason why I didn’t post this recipe during Vegan Mofo was that the photos kind-of sucked. I made it at night, so the lighting blew. And I was originally going to make the recipe for burritos, but it was a little oozy. And I was so hungry I couldn’t be bothered to take a bad photo. So I just decided to post the tofu, since I’ve eaten it with tacos, burritos, and it would easily taste great in sandwiches or as is.

The major downside is that the recipe takes a LOT of baking. It takes about 15 minutes of your time overall, but will take at least an hour or more of baking time. Then you add on another hour for pressing the tofu. But like I said, it leaves plenty of downtime so you can make whatever sides that you need, do the dishes, or read a book.

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Saturday Farm Haul: Orchard Edition

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I never got to post my trip to the farm last weekend. This most recent weekend was spent visiting family in Central Pennsylvania. So these photos are old, but I got some great bug shots and still wanted to share. Though I don’t have much to say, so there will be mostly just photos.

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I picking some raspberries and noticed there was a big spider web near my hand. So I searched around for a spider, before I tear down the web to get to more berries. To my surprised there was a HUGE one, with really cool yellow stripes. I knew I had to get my camera and take photos. It took awhile to find him again.

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I know nothing about wild berries. I should probably start learning, and maybe start foraging. But we all know to be careful since you don’t want to eat those berries, you know, the glitter berries. The first berries came off a bush at my CSA, which was decorative. The second berries was a wild berry growing at an orchard. I got confused at first because it was a vine that was growing up an apple tree. I thought it might of been a new item. Does anyone know what the second berry might be? They just look so cool.

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As I mentioned, we went to a you-pick-your-own style orchard after picking up our CSA share. I love the place since everything is only $1 per pound. Everything is pretty much organic, but not certified. The whole farm is run by one man, who inherited the farm from his mother. By doing pick your own he is able to run it alone, pruning the trees during the off seasons. 

He kept a few chickens for himself. There isn’t ever any eggs available to buy, so I am guessing he keeps them as a hobby.

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We walked down the aisles to get to the Asian Pears. His are a little tougher than ones bought in stores. But I guess I can’t complain with the low prices. I noticed this butterfly. There were tons others, but this was the first one that was sitting down long enough for a photo. 

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Can Veganism Speak to Rural Small-town America?

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This weekend I went to visit my grandparents in rural Pennsylvania. They are located in Roaring Spring, PA. If it sounds familiar that might mean you bought a Roaring Spring Notebook. The town is less than a square mile, and most people living there work for the local paper mill, or the surrounding farms. The “biggest” town near it is Altoona, which is pretty much unknown to people outside Pennsylvania.

On Friday my husband and I drove 4 hours in the middle of Pennsylvania, driving through and up mountains. When we hit Roaring Spring, we passed by street signs pointing to the football field. We joked how it was like Friday Night Lights. Once we got to my Nanna and Pappy’s house, we found out that football is no joke in this town. There were signs everywhere for the big game. The field is near their house, so we watched lots of people park on the street and walk to the field. My Nanna even let a friend park on their lawn for a good parking spot.

Football and cheerleader wasn’t anything big at my school. To me it was an outdated stereotype in movies and shows, like the nerd with bottle-thick glasses and the pocket protector. This was the first sign that I have been living in an urban bubble.

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It made me wonder, can small towns go vegan? It seems obvious to say yes, an individual can order stranger items online, and the internet can help them learn different things. And that is great. Isn’t that what all vegan bloggers do? Try and connect to everyone?

But it became apparent there are lots of reasons why people in Roaring Spring, or any small rural town, wouldn’t go vegan. One being community. Right before leaving, my vegan friend who grew up in Altoona wished me luck. She knew how frustrating it is to try and get her family to make something vegan. Luckily, my mother always cooks when visiting my Nanna, as she likes to try our cooking. What my family cooks were far from normal for the area. Most foods are bland, and meat based. 

I point this out since we made two chilis for one dinner. One was with ground pork, the other was based off of Oh She Glow’s My Favorite Vegan Chili. My grandparents both seemed perplexed by the idea of a vegetarian chili. My Pappy ate two bowlfuls, despite everyone thinking he wouldn’t touch it. I wouldn’t of thought this would be such a novel idea since chili competitions have a “vegetarian” category.

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Sunday Reading 09-28-14 #6

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Last weekend I was pretty stressed from the week. It was pretty weird and all over the place, so I decided to lay back and relax. I made a yummy pizza dip for the Broncos and Seahawks game, and made an amazing butternut squash soup from Isa Does it. So you might see some REALLY old things on this roundup. I didn’t get to share them last weekend and I didn’t want them to be skipped completely.

This weekend I visited my Grandparents in central PA, and when I mean central I mean centered Pennsylvania. It’s in the middle of state right dab in the middle. The closest city is Altoona, if you want to google it in a map. There maybe some photos later this week and some thoughts of veganism and farming.

BUT for now—-

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Red Velvet Raw Beetroot Heart Bars & BBQ Beetroot Seitan Steaks by A2K

A2K has a lot of beets, obviously since she is tempting me to two different beet recipes! One is a dessert made with beet roots and made into cute little hearts! And she pairs it with chocolate?! I love beets and chocolate. Then she goes savory with a beetroot steak. I don’t get too many beets yet from my CSA, so these recipes are making me sad. Soon. Soon.

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