Tag Archives: chocolate

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Okay, I know this is a stretch for the prompt. It is suppose to be something grey, which is actually pretty hard to make. I guess I could make biscuits and gravy, but that’s a regional meal that have never looked appetizing to me. But the prompt made me think right away when I worked at Animo. The owner Joe, would get there pretty early, around 5 or 6, with a 30 minute drive. So he usually asked one of the workers to make his morning smoothie.

Well, since he owned the shop, he went NUTS on the add ons. One day we figured out the price of his smoothie, and I think ended up being something like $16 smoothie. So what was in it? I remember it being something like a cup of unsweetened almond milk, a scoop of spiru-tein, spirulina, an acai puree packet, a banana, fresh strawberries, and sprouted flax seed. I kid you not when I say the drink was cement grey. But as you can see- there are lots of expensive ingredients!

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My drink is still pretty intense, but not as pricey. I have pumped it with lots of awesome foods that are perfect for any pregnant lady. For starters I have a soy milk base that is high in protein, but is fortified in lots of goodies. I am getting most of my calcium from the milk, and sure it is fortified, but cow’s milk sold for humans has been fortified with vitamins and minerals as well (particularly skim milk). I have also found that soy milks are now often fortified with B12, which is a nice add on. And if anyone is wondering why calcium is such a big deal, it is pretty much the only thing that a baby “leeches” from the body. A good diet while pregnant is always strongly encouraged because what you eat makes a different of what the baby eats. If you don’t eat much vitamin K, the baby isn’t going to take if from your body. For some reason calcium is different. Technically pregnant women don’t require more calcium, but if you aren’t hitting your daily requirements, you might want to start focusing on your intake.

Then we have the more “supplemented” foods that I add in- spirulina and DHA omega-3s. Many studies show that DHA helps with brain development with children, and that is partly why you have so many people saying to eat fish while pregnant. But vegans can cut out the middle man and just jump to the direct source of DHA- algae! I toss in 10 drops of Deva’s DHA liquid vitamins. To be perfectly clear, we as humans make our own DHA. Some people speculate that it is possible that humans can’t produce enough DHA during certain times, like if you are sick or pregnant. So I take the better safe than sorry approach. You can easily leave out this ingredient.

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If you have read my spirulina page, you will know that algae is really high in iron. This is perfect for a pregnant lady who needs a whopping 27mg of iron! To put that into perspective, most women who haven’t gone through menopause need 18mg, and most everyone else needs only about 10mg or less. So it is helpful to pack a big punch in one food source. One teaspoon of spirulina powder gives 7mg of iron!

Where else am I getting the iron? Well, chocolate! Yes, chocolate has lots of iron in it, but it often isn’t talked about because we normally make desserts with chocolates. This smoothie doesn’t have much added sugar or fats, so it is a healthy way to eat lots of cocoa. I like to use a mix of cocoa- one tablespoon of normal cocoa powder, and 2 tablespoons of special dark chocolate. The special dark helps keep a “chocolate” color next to the greens, but it usually has higher levels of iron than regular cocoa. So that adds 4mg of iron. What’s next? Greens! I switch the greens I add to my smoothie according to what looks good at the store. Sometimes chard, sometimes collards, sometimes kale. Whatever really. That will usually add about 1-3mg of iron.

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Now this shake isn’t the only way to add lots of iron to your diet. The Full Helping has a great page devoted to the specifics of iron intake, and great combos to build up your iron intake. I strongly recommend checking that out if this is something that concerns you. Keep in mind that many pregnant women, vegan or not have problem with low iron levels. Between my two blood work tests, I have never been told I test for low iron levels. I think I have this shake to thank.

So what’s the nutrition? Well, funny thing is that keep forgetting that I am pregnant, so I added some nutritional facts on the blog earlier for Vegan MOFO, and the percentages are wrong since they are calibrated for my pregnancy needs. Oops. But I will keep that since I am promoting this drink as one perfect for pregnancy! Quick macros- 47 grams of carbs (14 grams fiber, half of the daily requirements), 10 grams fat (100% omega-3, not including the DHA supplements), and 17 grams of protein (almost 30 grams if you add two tablespoons protein powder). I left the screen capped specs below, and take note that the percentages are for a 9 month pregnant lady, so if you are an average woman, you are probably getting most of your iron from this shake (the suggested for women ages 18-40 is only 18mg, everyone else needs about 8-10mg)

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I’ve been sitting on this recipe for awhile now. It came about early on in my pregnancy when Jon and I had two different family get togethers back to back. We are pretty big home bodies. We are both introverts and usually need a day to relax and calm down from family get togethers. This was going to be a VERY busy weekend. It would involve me running to our CSA, quickly go grocery shopping, and then cooking something for party number one.

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But being pregnant I kind-of wanted a dessert. But I didn’t have much time to prep anything. I remember loving the No-Bake Dark Chocolate Chickpea Pie with Pretzel Crust from Pickles and Honey, but had a craving for oreos cream filled chocolate cookie sandwiches. I also didn’t have some of the ingredients on the list and didn’t have the time to go to Whole Foods to get them (read: cocoa butter and coconut sugar.)

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So I decided to make two pies, which worked out wonderfully. Everyone loved the pie, and I got so many people asking what made it vegan. Chickpeas! Funny thing is that I have no idea how to make these type of no bake pies without vegan ingredients (pudding mixes?) It has always been beans and tofu for me. No one could even taste a hint of bean-y-ness to the pie. The big kicker? All the “tweens” went to town on the pie since they never heard me utter the word chickpeas in their presence. Most came out to the adults to say how much they loved that pie.

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So how did I make two pies on such a tight schedule? Well, there was a lot of cutting corners. One is that I bought pre-made pie shells. I picked up the Nabisco Oreo brand pie crusts because it was the only vegan chocolate pie crust option at my local grocery store. You can make your own pie crust just by googling oreo pie crust or just making a chocolate cookie crumb crust. What I do like about the ready made pie crusts (other than saving time) is that you have a plastic dome that you can use to cover the top of the pie for traveling.

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I also cut time down by using cocowhip. Make sure you plan ahead so you can thaw the whipped cream. One container makes the perfect amount for two pies, but below I will give the amount to use for only one pie (because you rarely need TWO pies.) You can double recipe if you like a lot of whipped cream on your pies if you want. But the whipped cream topping is where most of the “cookies & cream” flavor is coming from since you beat the sandwich cookies into the whipped cream. And naturally you could always make your own rad whip or coconut whipped cream.

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The last reason this pie is so quick to make is because you just need to blend all the ingredients in the filling, and that’s it. I strongly suggest that you use a blender not a food processor since a blender will get smoother results. I recommend putting all the ingredients into the blender as I have them listed since I had the best blending results (aka less times I need to stop and scrap things around.) The recipe is largely similar to chocolate chickpea filling on Pickles and Honey, so I recommend checking that recipe out if you want something less sweet.

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The pie can be eaten right away, but I suggest letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The chickpea filling naturally thickens up a little so you get cleaner cuts. I didn’t wait long enough for the photo (oops!) and got a more squished slice. Yikes! But since it is so easy to make, you can easily impress family members with your crumb decorating. I know I had a few family members saying “You made this?” with an air of surprise. Not sure why… maybe it didn’t seem like something I would make? 

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Welcome to Vegan MOFO 2015! The first prompt is talk about what you ate for breakfast. Most people get confused about what to serve a vegan for breakfast. Who can blame them? Pancakes, bacon, sausage, yogurt, milk, eggs, french toast, what is left to eat? Orange juice and toast? So we thought it would be a good idea to show a sample of what a typical breakfast is for us, including my husband.

Jennifer

Like a true (hippie-dippie) vegan, I start my breakfast off with a glass of homemade kombucha. I like adding the gut friendly bacteria to my diet each morning, and they are supposedly most helpful when consumed on an empty stomach. So I always pour myself a glass right away in the morning and drink it while I get some chores done, like putting away the clean dishes, washing any remaining pots and pans from the night before, or prepping a lunch for my husband and myself.

If I plan on working out, I try and have a very light “breakfast.” In the winter it is usually a small muffin, chia pudding, or a simple oat, water, and banana shake. But since I am swimming in produce, I ate a quarter of a giant yellow watermelon. This gives my tummy something to burn while I do my reps or go for a short run.

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This morning I went for a run, so I had a shake when I got back. I always try to eat some spirulina in the morning to help with allergies and because it has so many good vitamins and minerals in it. There are pretty much two ways I eat spirulina– a chocolate shake or a matcha shake. This morning I ate a matcha shake. It is very simple and easy to put together since by the end of my workout I am always craving a cool drink with lots of calories.

Alexa

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This was a really fun and easy experiment for me. I’ve been seeing one of my coaches at the gym to help me with my nutrition and eating to help aid my work-outs. I told her I was mostly vegetarian in diet (still livin’ that flexetarian lifestyle) so she helped me set up a meal plan based around that. Normally for breakfast I’ll eat 2 egg whites or 1 egg and 1 egg white along with 1/4 cup oatmeal (with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil mixed in) and a 1/2 cup of berries. Jen suggested that I try to make a tofu scramble for Vegan MoFo, which I had always wanted to do because I LOVE a good scramble, but had always been hesitant because I thought mine would never live up to what I’ve had in the past. 

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Well, it was incredibly easy to make this. And it turned out pretty well too! I’ve heard several people say they add nutritional yeast, turmeric or cumin to give the tofu some flavor and that yellow color of an egg scramble. I only had cumin in the house, but I also added a bit of curry powder and chili powder to it (and later I added sriracha…because I live for that sauce). I sautéed some onions, orange bell peppers and tomatoes in with the tofu and spices as well. Normally the eggs are supposed to help with getting some protein into my body post workout, as I’ll normally take a morning class. When Jen pointed out that that tofu has about as much protein as eggs does I felt a little bit better about maybe adding this into my routine a bit more often, but in smaller portions. 

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Oatmeal used to be a very “meh” ideal breakfast item for me. When Karen said I should put coconut oil into it and mix it with berries and a sprinkle of cinnamon I first thought “hmm, that’s interesting…” . Now I’m hooked. The consistency is perfect and I love the flavor of the coconut oil with berries. On occasion, such as today, I’ll substitute the oil for almond butter instead. Both options are great and this breakfast really keeps me full until lunch time, which ranges from about 12:30-1:30 depending on when I ate. 

Jonathan

My husband is a creature of habit. My morning starts with kombucha sure, but each batch is different and I switch between types of tea to create the brew. Then my shakes and “pre-workout” food changes. Not my husband. When we first started dating he use to eat a bagel and cream cheese every single day. Then he found out that his tummy got upset by it, so he switched to oatmeal.

Boring plain oatmeal.

He was so proud of himself, he crunched numbers and found out that he would save so much by using the big container of quick cooking oatmeal. I asked if he wanted some sugar, cinnamon, anything else. Nope. Gross. I thought it might of been a family thing, perhaps his Mother and Father had plain oatmeal? When I asked about it apparently his mother doesn’t like oatmeal and his father was all “WHAT THE HECK THAT SOUNDS GROSS?!” So there is clearly something wrong with my husband.

BUT I did convince him to start adding granola to give a little boost since he was getting hungry too fast (duh, you are just eating oats!) And depending on the season, he will add some berries from our CSA or chopped apples that I prep for him. I didn’t take a picture of his oats because they are disgusting and I figured readers wouldn’t want to see naked mushy oats.

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Then comes his second breakfast. Sure I have three different stages to my breakfast, but that is really just a “workout” thing. If I don’t run or lift, I just have one shake. But my husband is a calorie burning machine and needs to have a shake to drink when he gets to work. He is pretty boring, just chocolate or chocolate peanut butter, or just peanut butter. Lately I’ve been making him peach peanut butter shakes. But today was just chocolate.

The Coffee

We are all coffee people. Jon likes to have his coffee everyday and normally just gets the Wegman’s brand to save money. Jen finds this coffee too fruity for her tastes. But on special occassions Jen will buy him a special roast, like the Royal Mile Nicaragua Mama Mina that she got him for his birthday.

Jennifer on the other hand doesn’t drink coffee first thing in the morning. She drinks her cup around 10 am, probably because she finds coffee too harsh on an empty tummy. Sometimes she makes herself an iced latte before heading out to work using Black Cat Classic Espresso by Intelligentsia

Alexa gets her coffee from Booskerdoo or Rook. She liked to get the big jar of coffee concentrate from Rook when she can, but finds that it actually disappears way faster than she would like, and is trying to limit herself to 1 coffee per day, it used to be up to 4 COFFEES on a bad (good?) day. She also loves everyone who works in her local coffee shops and wants to give them patronage because they are just the sweetest and really know their coffee. 

So that’s it guys. Three vegan breakfasts. There are two shake recipes below if you want to be like us. Anyone else out there is a little freak and eats plain oatmeal? I think my husband needs team oats allies.

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I am fairly certain that Vegan Snack Attack is one of our most neglected “segments” on this blog. Alexa started a post last year in July, featuring chickpea snacks and a raw macaroon/chocolate. Then a month later I posted a review on Califia and some more raw chocolate. Then again in January of this year talking about all the chocolate I got for Christmas. I think you can guess that we like chocolate here.

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Well, those Snack Attacks were pretty random, meaning we weren’t really planning to post them, just were kind-of inspired. And that is kind-of what happened today. Since moving I went to check out a local health food store to see what they had. I found these chocolates being sold. Now I normally wouldn’t shell out $7 for two small truffles/chocolates, but I knew they were raw and made by a local company. I also figured if I featured on the blog that would soften the spending blow.

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The chocolates are made by Ooh La La Raw Chocolat, a fairly new company that is starting up in South Jersey. They currently are selling chocolates online, at Health Haven, Health Haven II, and had been featured in the Cherry Hill Whole Foods Hatchery. Well so far I ate one, and am saving the second for another day.

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I got the chocolate covered caramel with almonds. The package came with two very large chocolates. I was expecting that the center would be more liquid but was rather similar to the chocolate coating only a slightly more crumbly. There were also small chunks of almonds giving a nice crunch. I can easily say this makes me think of truffles, with a chocolate mousse center. Although I loved the flavor, I am not sure “caramel” is the best description.

Personally, I find the price pretty high, but are a perfect high end treat. If you don’t eat chocolate often, then this is a great splurge. I will definitely be asking for these for Valentines Day from my husband, because I like getting fancy chocolate. I stand by the idea that dessert shouldn’t be cheap, and should be held to high quality standards. This chocolate fits the bill.


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Is anyone else dying from the heat? Nope? No one? I find it a little funny that Jon and I are probably the opposite of the popular view on temperature. Everyone complains about winter, jacks up their heat, and bundle up. While Jon and I are excited that we can keep COLD this winter in our new house. Normal people talk about retiring in Florida where it is warm, we talk about moving more and more up north. Maybe the north pole. Point is that we are horrible people and are very cranky right now because of this lovely heat.

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I also think I know why I started to drink so much. The heat. Nothing is more satisfying than an cold light beer on a hot day. And it probably helped that I would be in a small kitchen sweating bullets, having a bottle of beer would be nice temporary relief. But beer is expensive, and probably not the best thing for me. So these ice pops will have to do.

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These pops aren’t the healthiest, but they are really cheap to make. So they are healthy for your mental health (less stress about money! okay I know I’m pushing it)!  They mostly just use regular sugar, which I find dissolves fine with blender, but I divided the load a little with agave, which also helps prevent ice crystals from forming.

The only thing you’ll need that you might not have is a popsicle mold. I’m not too picky and picked up some molds from a local grocery store. They are plastic jelly belly molds, they aren’t perfect. But I like the shape, they were cheap, and I already own them. There a lots of other options out there including metal molds. But for these molds, this recipe makes enough for 12 popsicles! So I think you save a lot of money by making your own pops instead of buying something else in stores.

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The secret to these pops are leftover coffee. My husband makes coffee every morning with his french press. After he is done there is a small amount of coffee leftover that is thick with coffee soot. I always take this small amount, probably about 1 ounce, and save it in a small container in the fridge. By the end of the week I usually have a cup of really strong coffee to make something with. Even though the coffee is really strong, I am surprised how little you actually taste in these pops!

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I used some silken tofu, but if you don’t want to use that, you can try using 1/2 cup soaked cashews instead. I personally don’t like using them since they have a distinctive odor when you freeze them. It is really odd, and I personally don’t find it as annoying as my husband does. But the fats from the nuts will give a nice creaminess.

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This shake was a pleasant accident. I was originally had ideas for a new dish stewing around for a few months, but I when I made this shake plans had to put on hold. See, I had leftover black sesame latte that I drank while I did errands around town. Instead of dumping the leftovers in the sink, I saved it to toss in a smoothie. So the next morning I made my shake, tossed in the leftover sesame latte and blended.

The end result was beyond delicious. The sesame flavor was present and seemed to work well with the chocolate. And even more to my surprise was that I could still distinguish the sesame and chocolate flavors even with my daily teaspoon of spirulina.

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I tested the recipe again making modification so my recipe didn’t read “1. make on batch black sesame latte 2. drink one third of it 3 blend all ingredients” Plus I wanted to make sure it still tasted the same. The result was still tasty, and prettier since I omitted the spirulina for the photos. I still stand by that the sesame and chocolate cover the spirulina taste pretty well, which is good news for anyone who doesn’t like it. I personally like spirulina, but somedays I just don’t want to taste it.

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I will point out that some people might not dig this flavor combo as much as I did. If you don’t like tahini or sesame seeds you probably won’t like this shake. The sesame plays a big role in the flavor, and it should distinguishable in the shake.

It should also be noted I used black sesame paste in the recipe. You could use whole black sesame seeds and leave the blender running a little longer. You can use tahini, but those sesame seeds are not roasted and therefore has a different flavor than “sesame pastes.” Sesame pastes are more often used in Asian cooking, and come in black and white sesame seeds. The flavor difference is minimal, but just something to keep in mind.

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Santa was quite nice this Christmas season! And by Santa, I just mean my husband. He looked at the back of all the different chocolate bars in the store to find ones that were vegan for me. I then pointed out the little vegan icon, to make shopping a little easier for the future. Best thing about this review? It is just in time to Valentine’s Day, so you know which chocolates to buy your boo.

The first bar I’ll talk about is the Salazone bar. The flavor was Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Organic Turbinado Cane Sugar, I know it just rolls off the tongue! The Salazone company says that they don’t do a milk chocolate bar, which is funny since this bar tasted so creamy. This bar probably had the most sugar and fat in it, but it well worth it. I found it hard not eat the entire bar at once. The chocolate melts beautifully in your mouth, and gives little bursts of salt in the process. I might have to buy another one soon.

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I’ve tried some of the Endangered Species Chocolate bars, in particular the vegan creme filled line. I found them fairly disappointing, so I was little bummed that this came in my stocking. But I was really surprised by the Almond Butter Creme Filled bar. In the past most of the creme flavors disappear in the chocolate. But the almond butter stands out enough while working with the chocolate flavor. I would honestly buy this flavor again.

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I love Vega’s protein powders, I just wish they weren’t so expensive. They work with lots of different bloggers, and I see their products on social media all the time. So their Maca Chocolate Bar didn’t get past my radar. I love maca, and I love maca paired with chocolate! When I finally saw this on sale in Whole Foods I had to grab it. Out of all the bars this is the most like a “candy bar.” My only complaint is that the bar did have a little bit of grittiness to it. But I would still snatch up another bar if I see it again.

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I think I remember eating the Alter Ego Dark Quinoa in the past and thinking it was too fruity. But that was before I knew the difference between cocoa and cacao. I think there is a little bit of a shock when eating cacao for the first time. It taste so similar to chocolate but there is a clear difference in taste. Now that my taste buds are seasoned, I really enjoyed this bar. The quinoa give a nice puffed crunch to the bar. The chocolate is shiny and have a nice snap to it.

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What about the Dark Mint bar? Well, it is a little bit of a mixed bag. I think the flavor was great, not too minty. But I was put off by their little mint crystals. I think I would of liked big chunks that you would see in peppermint bark. But the minty candy pieces are as small as turbinado sugar, so it tasted more like undissolved sugar.

Overall? I think my least favorite bars were the alter-ego bars. If I am going to spend $3 on a chocolate bar, I would stick to the first three brands as I found them the hardest to ration.


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I had this recipe sitting in the drafts section for a few months now… 7 months to be exact. Which is a shame because these are great cookies to make with non-vegan friends. It calls for almost all “normal” ingredients. Meaning there isn’t any fake butter, or things you wouldn’t find in the pantry. There is technically 2 tbsp of soy milk, but you can sub it for water. And there is flax and chia seeds, but you can take them out, you’ll just have a more tender cookie.

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Alexa is searching around for new healthy snacks, but sometimes I neglect to try out new things. When shopping with my husband I have a one track mind, get everything on the list. If I don’t I would bring home an extra $30s worth of snacks home each week. Which isn’t so great on my wallet. But while in New York last weekend, I let myself splurge a little. I saw two things I wanted to try in a small grocer, raw chocolate and Califa Farms’ almond milk.

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A few weeks ago I visited Burlington, Vermont for my brother Trevor’s Graduation from College! He attended the University of Vermont and (as far as I know) is going to be teaching Crossfit classes and competing in Crossfit competitions for a living. It was nice to be able to see him and his lovely girlfriend, and I had never been to Burlington before then, so it was an added bonus of adventure! 

My favorite part of the weekend was when we all met up (my Mother, Step Daddy, Trevor, his girlfriend Jules and myself) and walked around the Burlington Farmer’s Market. I already love farmer’s markets, and Trevor had told me that this one was especially nice. 

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