Book Review: The Sexy Vegan’s Happy Hour at Home

Ok. So I must have been living under a vegan rock, because until very recently, I did not know the work of The Sexy Vegan.

What? How could I not know about Brain Patton’s, a.k.a. “The Sexy Vegan” recipes, blog and YouTube channel? Big rock, people. Great. Big. Rock. But…I’ve climbed out, and here I am, sharing some of the goodness from Brian’s latest book, The Sexy Vegan’s Happy Hour at Home. (Click here to watch a video Brian put together about his newest creation.)

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When I first got the book and started flipping through it, I somehow missed the most exciting and special aspect…the set up! The book is setup in a ingenious way – by menu. Seriously, everything you could possibly need for happy hour at home by yourself or with friends is all there in one convenient spot – including drink suggestions. You don’t have to flip through the book and hunt for recipes that might go together; Brian has everything laid out, explained, and basically set up so even the most novice vegan cook can impress with the best. (He even includes shopping lists for each menu. Love that!)

Here’s what Brian has to say about his new cookbook:

The Sexy Vegan’s Happy Hour at Home is divided into 20 Menus, each with 3 or 4 recipes, and libation suggestions. The dishes in each menu complement each other, using similar spices and overlapping ingredients, making the menus efficient. Designed around specific themes, each menu has a unique twist but can easily be combined with other finger foods to provide everything you need to entertain vegan and non-vegan friends and family alike….Each menu…can make them in 60 minutes or less, and…offers ways for readers to increase their efficiency in the kitchen. Included with each recipe are shopping lists, making planning simple and QR codes with links to videos…creating select dishes.

One of my favorites sections in each menu is the WTF box. The WTF box explains an ingredient or technique that might not be familiar to everyone, such as the difference between sweet potatoes and yams in the “The Happiest Meal: Little Macs & (Real) Sweet Potato Fries (p 116) or chiffonade, included with the recipe for Grilled Asparagus and Figs (p 97), which is part of the Really Little Italy menu (p 92).

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Tomorrow is Vegan Pizza Day, but I think I’m going to cheat it up a bit and make Brian’s Holy Stromboli (p. 11) because I can’t not make it! (Ya. I said can’t not. Who doesn’t love a double negative now and then?) And, if you can’t not make it too, check out the video for this delicious “tube of pizza” as Brain puts it: http://youtu.be/S96pgK_qOek

It’s summer, right? Well, with summer comes longer days and more demands chances to entertain. Do you self a favor and pick up a copy of The Sexy Vegan’s Happy Hour at Home and save yourself some time and effort, and make yourself, your friends, and your family some delicious meals.

Steak Salad

really wanted to post this recipe last week – for Father’s Day – but I didn’t get around to it *sigh* Being sick off and on for three weeks has not been good for my blogging schedule!

Regardless of the timing, this simple salad is delicious and hearty enough to stand against any meat filled concoction you might run into at an omni cookout – and filling and tasty enough to made anybody (dad included) feel full and satisfied after digging in.

Steak Salad

1 lb lacinato/dinosaur kale, stemmed

1/2 – 1 avocado

1 pt cherry tomatoes

2 lg portobello caps, stemmed, ribbed, and sliced

1/2 – 1 lemon, juiced

Seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.)

First, stem and clean your kale. Then massage it with the avocado. Really get in there and mash it all around. Rub it with your fingers under the kale is a bit wilted and the avocado is well incorporated. Arrange massaged kale on a serving platter or large plate. Then, slice tomatoes in half and place them artfully over the kale. Finally, slice the portobello caps into thick slices and arrange on top of the tomatoes. Finally, dress the salad with freshly squeezed lemon and whatever seasonings you like. (I like salt, pepper and a little dried oregano.)

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Keep up with me, Veggie V, between posts by following me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Join our Raw Fusion Rest group on Facebook for this month’s challenge – lowering the fat in your high-raw, vegan diet.

 

Recipe Review: Strawberry Shortcake

It’s strawberry season here in Ohio – heck, it’s strawberry season just about everywhere in the US – and I’ve been eating more than my share of red, ripe berries lately. But, there are only so many naked berries a girl can throw down, and last night, I couldn’t get the thought of strawberry shortcake out of my head. So…a little Google’ing later, and I found this grain-free, vegan strawberry shortcake recipe from Healthful Pursuit. (Note: Not all of Leanne’s recipes are vegan. In fact, many are not, but she does have quite a few plant-based recipes posted, and those that are not can usually be easily modified.)

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I decided I had to make these shortcakes around 8 pm, and by 830, I was eating a giant plate of berries on top of a fresh-from-the-oven shortcake. Yum!

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As with any recipe, I have to put my own spin on things 😉 For this recipe, I omitted the cinnamon and added a splash of vanilla extract instead. I also used coconut oil instead of Earth Balance because that’s what I had on hand. The shortcakes didn’t rise much, but that could have been my old baking powder – or the coconut oil. Regardless, I didn’t mind my more cookie-like shortcakes. The taste was great, and I loved that the recipe is grain free.

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My recipe made four very large shortcake cookies. I ate one and put the other three in the freezer. Ok. I ate one with strawberries, then ate half of one on it’s own, then put the remaining two and half shortbread cookies in the freezer 😉 Strawberry season will be with us for a couple more weeks; those remaining shortbreads won’t go to waste! (Although, they might go to my waist. Sigh)

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Recipe alteration ideas: This recipe doesn’t make a very sweet shortbread cookie. It’s not supposed to. The berries and additional topping more than make up for the lack of sweetness in the cookie. But, I couldn’t help thinking these would be great a little sweeter – as more of a true cookie than a shortbread cake. So, I think the next time I make these (Yes; there will be a next time!), I’ll go ahead and add the cinnamon and a little more coconut sugar, then roll the dough into balls and roll the balls into a cinnamon sugar mixture ala snickerdoodles. Or, add a little more sugar and the cinnamon to the batter, then top the unbaked cookies with coconut sugar before baking for a more traditional sugar cookie. These would also be great frosted or as cookies in a cream or ice cream filled cookie sandwich. Yum!

Keep up with me, Veggie V, between posts by following me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Join our Raw Fusion Rest group on Facebook for this month’s challenge – lowering the fat in your high-raw, vegan diet.

 

Awards

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA lately. Last week I picked up whatever germs Mr M brought home from work the previous weekend and was on the couch most of the week nursing a cold. Then, just as I was feeling better, I got hit with a bout of food poisoning. Oy! I’m finally feeling better, but still nursing stomach issues and some chest congestion. Fun times!

Thankfully, the loving blog community has kept my spirits up by nominating me for a couple of awards in the past few weeks.

Pavithra from Eat, Live, Burp nominated me for the Shin on Award.

Adria from Healthy Vegans Vegan nominated me for a Liebster Award.

Poppy from Poppy’s Patisserie/Bunny Kitchen nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger’s Award.

Thanks, ladies!

Now, onto the fun stuff 🙂

Each award requires answering some questions about yourself to share with others and then spreading the love to fellow bloggers. Let’s see what I can come up with.

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The rules for Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award are:

1   Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2   Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.
3   Answer 10 questions given.
4   Nominate up to 12 bloggers for Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5   Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

10 Questions:
What is your favorite color?   — Red
Your favorite animal?   —  All of them? Right now I’m partial to goldfish and cats. (Hi Betty and DC!)
Your favorite non-alcoholic drinks?  —  GT’s Kombucha in Triology – followed closely by the Multigreen flavor
Facebook or Twitter?   —  Facebook (but I’m trying to use Twitter more!)
Your favorite pattern?   —  um…polka-dots?
Do you prefer getting or giving presents?  — I love getting presents. Who doesnt?! But, I love giving presents, too 🙂
Your favorite number?    — 6
Your favorite day of the week?    — I don’t have a favorite, but I have a least favorite – Sunday.
Your favorite flower?    — Yellow Tulips
What is your passion?   —  Vegan/Raw Vegan Nutrition – for myself and others

shine-on

The Rules

1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.

2.  Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.

3.  Share 7 random interesting things about yourself.

4.  Nominate up to 15 bloggers for Shine On Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify  them on their blogs.

5.  Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

Seven Random Things About Me

1. I have a 10 year old goldfish named Betty.

2. Our cat’s name is Dick Cheney, and he knows his name and comes when he’s called. (I’m sure our neighbors think we’re crazy always calling for Dick Cheney. Ha ha ha!)

3.  I add vanilla to almost everything sweet that I eat or drink: smoothies, raw cookies, nut/seed milk, hot drinks – everything!

4. I randomly eat olives throughout the day – big, pimento stuffed green olives. Yum!

5.  I am allergic to agave. I found out the hard way – via a strong margarita. If I have even a tiny bit, I break out in hives. They start on my chest and make their way to the rest of my body rather quickly. Not fun.

6.  Before I discovered the wonders of dates, I used to eat prunes every night before bed.

7. I’ve been running for almost three years, but I still can’t run an entire 5k without walking. (When I say can’t, I mean my brain won’t let me. I am physically able. Silly, isn’t it?)

Here’s how it works… After receiving the nomination, you must:

  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself
  • Answer 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you
  • List 11 bloggers who have less than 300 followers (as best as you can tell based on the info provided!). They should be bloggers that you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers that you nominated to answer (you cannot nominate the blogger that nominated you)
  • Let all of the bloggers know that they’ve been nominated

11 Questions asked of me…

  1. How long have you been blogging? This month marks my 3 year blogaversery!
  2. What are your goals with your blog? Originally, the goal was just to share the vegan recipes I was creating in my home kitchen. But, as my diet has evolved, so has my goal for the blog. I went from simply eliminating animal products (from an already vegetarian diet) to a gluten-free vegan diet to where I am now at high raw (usually low fat) vegan. The blog has followed suit, and soon, it will have a new look and showcase the other aspects of veganism for me – health coaching, cooking coaching, homemade eats and treats, juice feasting, and more!
  3. If there was one meal you could eat every day what would it be? My kale salad: kale massaged with EVOO and tossed with some diced tomatoes, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano.
  4. Short or long hair? Somewhere in the middle
  5. When you eat out, what alterations to your menu selection do you usually ask waiters to make?  I don’t eat out very often because I ask them to hold or alter everything!
  6. What is your favorite fruit? Apples! Watermelon and cherries are a close second. Oh, and dates 🙂
  7. Are there any foods (other than animal products) that you avoid in your daily life because you feel they are to unhealthy? Personally, grains seem to be unhealthy for me. They make whatever causes my heart palpitations to flair up, so I generally avoid them – glutenous our otherwise.
  8. What’s your typical exercise routine? I lift heavy weights at least three times a week and hit the treadmill or the park at least four times a week. Lately, I’ve had a little more time, so I’ve been able to add in bike riding and yoga. Love yoga!
  9. City slicker or country lover – which are you? small town
  10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you be? I’ve not traveled many places, so I only have what I’ve read and seen on TV to go by, but it seems as if I’d really enjoy living in the Pacific Northwest or maybe even California.
  11. What is your favorite vegan product?  (Can be clothing, skincare, etc.) Dr. Bronner’s That stuff is magic! (Honorable mention: coconut oil. I use it for everything!)

Phew…that was a lot of information!

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about me and what I’ve been up to lately.